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The "Big Idea" Futures For Felons

1935 words - 8 pages

The “Big Idea” Futures for Felons
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) have been struggling with an overcrowding epidemic since the civil lawsuit filed in 2001, known as Plata v. Brown. This lawsuit brought some serious to the attention of the state of California regarding their prison system. Plata filed the lawsuit against the state of California because the conditions of the CDCR prisons were unconstitutional and a violation of the 8th amendment rights the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. This violation was due to the inadequate medical and mental health care that inmates were or were not receiving due to the serious overcrowding. According to the Data Analysis Unit (2013), weekly report of population on November 20, 2013 the CDCR had a population of 191,633 offenders under CDCR supervision. CDCR is housing 125,753 of those inmates. California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a contract with three for profit private prisons located out of state to house thousands of California inmates. Arizona is housing 3,347 Mississippi is housing 2,660, and Oklahoma housing 2,296 inmates. Brown signed three contracts in state for profit private prisons with two separate entities as well. CDCR supervises 48,544 offenders on parole. These numbers are astounding. CDCR facilities met and exceeded its maximum capacity in all 33 prisons. There has been a three judge ruling on the overcrowding issue mandating California to bring its population down to 137.5% maximum capacity by February 24, 2014. The releasing of low risk inmates will reduce the population enough to not have an immediate concern regarding the overcrowding, while reevaluating the terms, conditions, policies, and procedures of parole and the implementation of the “Futures for Felons” program statewide will significantly influence the population long term and dramatically affect the recidivism rates.
The cause of the overcrowding has a few possible originations, one being that California passed one of the strictest sentencing laws ever in the history of the United States. It is the” three strikes or your out law.” This law passed in September of 1994, intentionally to put behind bars serious, violent, and sexual deviant repeat offenders. In this circumstance, a conviction of two serious, violent, or sexually deviant charges would lead to the first two strikes. After that, any conviction of any charges would be the third strike, thus putting the offender behind bars for 25-to-life. This seriously affected the prison population. Currently according to the CDCR Data analysis unit (2013), there are 34,699 inmates incarcerated on their second strike, and 7,975 inmates sentenced to 25-to-life under the three strikes law of 1994. On November 7, 2012, the people and the legislation passed the measure Proposition 36 of 2012 stating the About 3 strikes (2013) and that this reform changed the three strikes law sentencing. Proposition 36 states that the...

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