Re "Don't build more jails -- fix inmate recidivism" (Forum, Dec. 9): High violation rates and prison overcrowding are the consequence of a long-term county jail bed shortage.
The county jail shortage caused a decision to transfer violation hearings from county jails to prison, increasing violation rates from 20 percent to 35 percent. P
State prison overcrowding occurred because the state choose to house low-level offenders in expensive prison beds rather than just increase county jail capacity. This overcrowded prisons and added about $1 billion to annual prison operating costs.
Realignment should return the violation rate to 20 percent and reduce annual prison operating costs by about $1.3 billion.
The real problem is that California bases sentencing and correctional programs on politics rather than analysis and fact. The last analysis of the statewide correctional system was in 1971. Given the history of California corrections, an objective analysis could reveal huge cost savings. It is way past due.
-- Rich mckone, lincoln