Report: No Crime Spike from California's Prison Overhaul

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Inmates in a hallway at Chino State Prison. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Four years ago, under a federal court order, California began to radically transform the way it sentences criminals by allowing non-violent offenders to serve their sentences in county jails rather than state prisons. At the time, critics worried that the plan, known as realignment, could increase crime and overwhelm counties. But a recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California finds that realignment has significantly reduced the prison population with few negative consequences. Still, projected cost savings have not materialized and recidivism rates remain high. We look at the effects of realignment and discuss the current state of the California justice system.


Magnus Lofstrom, senior fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

Matthew Cate, executive director, California State Association of Counties; former secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation