This plan has been well publicized. Federal judges have ordered the State to reduce prison populations. State budget problems have forced leadership to think outside the cell, er box. The State will begin sending low level offenders back the counties from whence they came, and that includes Shasta County. Last evening, we attended a League of Women Voters event where the topic was addressed in detail by Shasta County Chief Probation Officer, Wes Forman.
Sounds like all bad news.
But Wes and Sheriff Tom Bosenko have been involved in careful planning to make the best of the situation. In fact, we are told local authorities may very well be better able to reduce recidivism and provide rehabilitation. Of course, the bad news is that the State isn’t providing all that much money to cover the cost of moving their problems from state prisons to county jails. The move is happening no matter what.
We learned that putting inmates to work on the firelines carries more costs and training than you might might imagine. Although all agreed that was a good program, it may simply not be affordable. Also considered was the prospect of many hundreds of inmates trying to re-integrate into an already depressed economy with scarce jobs or opportunity. Of course, they are coming anyway, one way or another.
Thanks very much to everyone at the LWV of Redding for this informative talk, and to staff at Lema Ranch (and the McConnell Foundation) for hosting.