My latest infographic for the Center for Investigative Reporting / California Watch helps visualize how California's prison realignment program has fared so far. The 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act redirects low-level offenders from state lockups to county jails, while providing local governments with millions of dollars and broad discretion over how to spend the money to handle the felons.
A few results of realignment:
- Overcrowding has been successfully eased in state prisons, but many counties are struggling to cope with the influx of felons
- Six of California’s 10 most populous counties have reported rising jail populations since realignment began
- San Francisco County, which has historically relied on alternatives to incarceration (like customized probation programs) has seen a decrease in county jail populations.
- On the other hand, a place like Fresno County, which has no alternatives to incarceration, has seen a 32% increase in local jail populations.