The Impact of California Budget Deficits on the Criminal Justice System: Evidence and Recommendations
Global Journal of Business Research, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 125-132, 2010
8 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2010
At the same time that the State of California faces crushing annual budget deficits, the Governor faces a mandate from the federal courts to significantly reduce prison overcrowding. California prisons were originally designed to hold fewer than 100,000 inmates. They are currently housing over 170,000 inmates. The problem facing California lawmakers is how to reconcile looming budget cuts, including those in the corrections system and the court system, with the mandate to reduce the number of prisoners. One suggested plan, to grant early release to approximately 27,000 inmates, has run into stiff opposition from police and prosecutor groups. They cite recent high profile abductions and murders committed by parolees who were released early to live in treatment centers and half-way houses. Criminal justice experts also predict that the early release of inmates will increase recidivism rates in a state that already has the nation’s highest recidivism rate. This paper will explore and review the ongoing political and fiscal battles over the allocation of scarce public funds currently taking place in California, and the direct impact it will have on the criminal justice system in California and the rest of the United States.
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