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Criminal Justice Experts Take On California Prison Realignment

Aired 10/23/13 on KPBS News.

Leading California criminal justice experts are continuing to criticize a state program that sends more prison inmates to county jails. The program is called realignment and is meant to ease overcrowding in state prisons.

Leading California criminal justice experts are continuing to criticize a state program that sends more prison inmates to county jails. The program is called realignment and is meant to ease overcrowding in state prisons.

Lenore Anderson, with Californians for Safety and Justice, was part of a panel addressing the issue Wednesday in Sacramento. She said prioritizing treatment programs is a better solution.

"Unless and until we have really robust and commensurate availability of mental health and drug treatment, it's going to be really hard for us not to have those problems forced into our criminal justice system," Anderson said.

Anderson also proposes doing away with mandatory sentencing in favor of risk based sentencing.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said realignment without a crime prevention component could cause the jails to suffer the same fate as the prisons.

"We just have this huge flow of people coming into jail and not enough room for them," Brown said.

All the speakers agreed that any long-term solution must put public safety first.

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