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Prison Reallignment At Donovan, 650 Fewer Inmates But Still Crowded

Inside a Level 4 inmate's cell at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

Photo by Angela Carone

Above: Inside a Level 4 inmate's cell at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

Patrick Logan, Donovan Prison


Lieutenant Patrick Logan, Public Information Officer for Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility



Update On Reallignment

Update On Reallignment

An update from the California Legislative Analysts Office on the status of prison realignment, which began in October 2011.

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Inmate Numbers at Donovan

Sep. 15, 2011: 4,341

Feb. 15, 2012: 3,693

R.j. Donovan design capacity: 2,200

In the past five months, the number of inmates has dropped by almost 650 at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

That drop at the state prison is almost completely due to California's prison realignment policy, Lt. Patrick Logan, Donovan’s spokesman, told KPBS.

“I attribute it all to realignment,” he said. “We’re taking a lot of those low level offenders, that revolving door that keeps coming back in, and we’re shifting them over to the county now. We’re now only housing serious offenders.”

The realignment program has only been in effect for a few months, but already it's being felt in the state prison system. Not only is the number of inmates shrinking, but the number of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff is being reduced as well.

That means some staff members at Donovan could lose their jobs as early as next week, Logan said.

“We’re trying everything we can mitigate that,” he said, including using voluntary transfers, retirement and demotions.

Logan said everyone from officers to office assistants could be laid off, but that does not mean the prison its cutting its programs or services.

“In fact we’re increasing the number of programs we have,” he said.

He added that the prison is aiming to “do more with less.”

Although the prison’s numbers have been cut to about 3,600, it is still over the 2,200 capacity for which it was designed.

That means prisoners room two to a cell, when the prison was originally designed to house one prisoner in each cell, Logan said.

But, he said, the amount of crowding has greatly improved.

In the past, as KPBS has reported, the prison was so full that prisoners sometimes slept in gyms that were converted into housing units.

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