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ACLU Critical of California's Prison 'Realignment'

March 23, 2012  | 

California's initiative to shift state inmates to local jails has drawn fire from the American Civil Liberties Union, who has released a report criticizing "realignment."

In the 100-page report, "Public Safety Realignment: California at the Crossroads," the ACLU of Northern California argues that the realignment initiative will create an undue burden on local taxpayers and lead to new investment in jails rather than crime-prevention programs.

"Simply building new jails or re-opening unused jail space treats the symptom but not the underlying disease," said attorney Allen Hopper, the report's author. "It's time to confront the fact that in California, over-incarceration is itself a disease, and the way to end it is to expand the use of mental health services, drug treatment and job training, and to reserve prison and jail for responding to serious crimes."

The ACLU reviewed the realignment implementation plans of the state's 53 counties.

According to the group, more than 71% of the 71,000 Californians held in county jails on any given day are awaiting their day in court because they can't afford bail.

Read the full report here.

By Paul Clinton


California's 'Realignment' Toward Higher Crime

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