Last login: Tuesday, October 6, 2009
California's prison system is in dissarray. Spending is uncontrolled and the administration does not understand how to develop effective change strategies. We must unerstand that the root causes of crime involve family structure or lack thereof, the fact that 85% of felons are phsically,emotionally or sexually abused as children,a society that is not really interested in getting the Legislature and the Governor to solve the problem. So what needs to be done? Here is a short list of what we can do.1. Change sentencing laws, mainly dealing with drug abuse and sales to heavily fines users and sellers. Use the revenue to increase academic, vocational, substance and rehabilitation programs that have proven to reduce recidivism.2. Eliminate parole for all but violent and sexual offenders, but reduce staffing ratios to 40-1 to control these individuals.3. Stop building prisons that are too costly.4. Change retirement calculations for peace officers to save dollars. Inead of giving 3% per year of service at age 50 make it 3% at age 55, and top out at 75% vs todays 90%. To do this the Governor and the Legislature must stand up to ccpoa.
October 6, 2009 at 10:48 a.m.
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The Corrections and Rehabiliatation budget is over $10 billion. Most of the costs are staffing and operational costs in the prisons. Most of the prisoners are there due to drug and alchohol related offenses. If we want to stop the recidivism cycle we need to address the root causes. We need to recognize that 85% of prisoners have been physically, emotially or sexually abused as children. Yes, they are still responsble for their actions as adults, but let's stop the cycle. How do we do this and reduce prison costs? Here are some ideas worth considering.
1. Reduce recidivism by establishing more evidenced based programs like the SB 618 Reentry program in San Diego. This program has already proven to reduce recidivsm by at least 50%, which is substantial when you consider annual prison costs of over $46,000.
2. Eliminate parole for all except for serious violent offenders, prison gang members, and seriously mentally disabled offenders. This alone could save over $700 million a year.
3. Change retirement formulas back to 20 years ago. This would mean that peace officer retirement would be based on 2.5% per year up to age 55 and using the top three year average salary. This could save hundreds of millions over the next 20 years.
4. Change prison health care standards to meet minimum standards rather than court imposed standards that are higher than those who are uninsured or on medicaid. There is a lot of waste in the medical area. Many medical staff are not qualified to perform effeciently and effectively.
5.Automate the prison system now by starting incrementally rather than waiting for years and years for any real change.
6.Change sentencing guidelines to provide for heavy fines for drug possession and small quantity sales. There are plenty of people ready to fill in for those in prison, so we are not winning this drug war the way now sentence.
If you do the above 6 things effectively, you can save over $2 billion per year within 5 years.
September 16, 2009 at 8:52 p.m.
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