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Corrections Officials Talk About Start of Realignment

Aired 9/28/11 on KPBS News.

State and local corrections officials are trying to calm any fears before California’s controversial “realignment” program starts on Saturday.

The entrance to the prison at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, which houses roughly 4,800 inmates. The entrance is heavily gated and monitored by a watchtower.
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Above: The entrance to the prison at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, which houses roughly 4,800 inmates. The entrance is heavily gated and monitored by a watchtower.

State and local corrections officials are trying to calm any fears before California’s controversial “realignment” program starts on Saturday. That’s when oversight of non-violent criminals will shift from the state to the counties. Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate said he wants to make it clear how the program will start.

“Nobody gets transferred from a prison to a jail on October first," explained Cate. "Instead people who are newly convicted after that date or who have parole violations after that date will go to a county jail, if they’re a lower level offender instead of a state prison.”

Cate noted that those released from prison on that day will have served their time, but some will be supervised by local authorities instead of the state’s parole department. Each county will determine its own rehabilitation plan.

The new “realignment” came about, in part, to address a court ruling that said California must reduce overcrowding in its state prisons.

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