California has increased spending for prisons by the billions, since 1970. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has focused immensely on corrections and has failed to rehabilitate prisoners to be functioning members of society.
Due to the lack of investment in rehabilitation, prisons have grown and expanded with recidivism rates reaching national highs of 65 percent. This daunting return rate within three years of an individual’s release calls for better rehabilitation, especially given the fact that 95 percent of individuals will eventually be released.
Californians passed Proposition 47 as an answer for better rehabilitation that leads to reducing recidivism and decreasing the overall incarceration rate in California prisons.
To be in full effect, the millions in cost savings resulting from the 4,700 fewer prison beds occupied by individuals released under Prop. 47 need to be distributed by the state to the counties so the community-based organizations can provide the much-needed residential drug treatment and mental health services.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Prison populations have mental health rates that are 3 times the national average.” Contact your state legislator at http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ and ask him or her to “show you the money” from Prop. 47 coming to your county.
Christian Farley, Fresno