Locking down reforms

San Francisco is a model for counties wrestling with Realignment -- but more challenges and opportunities remain


Realignment, California's year-old program of diverting more inmates and parolees from state prison to county jails and probation offices, was borne of necessity: The state faced a severe budget crisis and had been ordered by the federal courts to reduce the population in its overcrowded prisons. But Realignment is proving to be a real opportunity to address inmates' needs and reduce recidivism, particularly in San Francisco, where progressive notions of rehabilitation and redemption have deep roots.Read more »

Of Monsters, Men, and Me


Editor's Note: California is transferring many prison inmates to jails in their counties of origin, a process known as Realignment that will impact the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. Mayor Ed Lee removed the elected head of that department last week, and the process for determining whether Lee acted appropriately could take months. With that context in mind, we present this inside look at Realignment by Eugene Alexander Day, a third strike inmate at Soledad Prison who will be writing occasional articles about prison life for the Guardian.

A perfect storm is brewing. An unparalleled crisis in corrections is exacerbated by an even worse economy. As a reform-minded inmate buried under a life sentence, it feels like hope is on the horizon. Judicial oversight is the cornerstone.

Due to a murderous and unconstitutional medical department, the Supreme Court implemented a population cap on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). December marked the first of four benchmarks. By mid-2013, the prison population must be brought down by 33,000 inmates.

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