Though county populations in California have increased over the past several decades, state and local revenues have not kept pace. These budget shortfalls, combined with a trend of longer prison sentences and a high number of repeat offenders, have led to a severe overcrowding problem in many of California’s prisons. Shortage of space, beds, and other resources at such prisons are evidence of both lingering and urgent needs that are far from being met by current efforts at reform.
Complaints by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy groups about the treatment and accommodations of inmates have had disturbing results, as thousands of convicted felons are released from California jails every year. Even more disturbing – some of these newly released individuals have served less than 10% of their sentence. Criminals are not oblivious to this trend; law enforcement officials report an increase in the number of convicts opting to convert monetary penalties into jail time and rejecting rehabilitation alternatives in the knowledge that they are unlikely to serve more than a fraction of their total jail sentence.
Of course, the other side of the story revolves around conditions in California’s jails. Due overcrowding and lack of financial resources, many state and local prisons are in dire need of renovation. One facility in Calaveras County was constructed using large amounts of asbestos, a once-popular construction material which is now known to cause a rare, incurable cancer. A dearth of funding has rendered officials unable to truly address this potential health hazard; instead, only temporary patchwork solutions are available.
San Jose criminal lawyer Daniel Jensen has over 30 years of experience in the field of criminal defense. If you have been accused of a crime, call the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. at (408) 296-4100 today.