Southern California breaking news and trends

Prison system looking to reinvest in rehabilitation

iStockphoto.com

What happens in prison doesn't stay in prison. The vast majority of California's prison inmates return to their home counties once released.

When the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation decided it was time to start beefing up rehabilitation programs behind bars, the agency sent administrators to L.A. That's because half of state prisoners come from Los Angeles and its surrounding counties. 

"Our goal is to give them the skills so they think differently, behave differently, so when they go back to Los Angeles County, or any of the surrounding areas where they came from, they'll lead more constructive lives and the recidivism rate will be reduced," said CDCR Spokesman Bill Sessa. 

The department plans on taking proposals in the next year or so, and with that in mind, met with local providers in L.A. on Thursday. They'll also be in Oakland next week. The move reflects a shift in direction for the department, where rehabilitation programs have been cut significantly for the past few years. This year, by contrast, they've been given $190 million to go towards starting new programs. Sessa explained the opportunity for change arose from prison realigment, shifting lower level offenders to county supervision. Realignment, started in fall of 2011, has helped the system reduce the population by about 30,000 inmates so far.

Read More...

LA County is sending drastically fewer people to prison post-realignment

iStockphoto.com

California's prison population has declined drastically in the last eight months.

According to new stats, Los Angeles is sending 41 percent fewer people to prison now than the county did before prison realignment. Overall, the state's prison population has dropped to about 136,000, the lowest in 17 years. Around the state, 18 counties showed drops larger than 50 percent. 

The numbers, compiled by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, show LA still sends more people to prison than any other county in the state — considering the county's population, however, LA's incarceration rate is pretty average. 

The big drops for California, CJCJ found, have been in drug offenders (down 60 percent), property offenders (down 60 percent), and parole violators (down 47 percent) going to prison. These are the offenders covered under the state's prison realignment plan, which re-routes low-level offenders and parole violators from prison to county-level supervision. Counties around the state have variously embraced and complained about the new system, which puts thousands of new offenders in their care. 

Read More...

California's prison population drops dramatically

Solano Prison

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / EPA

In 2006 prisoners at Solano Prison in Vacaville had to sleep in common areas due to overcrowding issues.

For years California's prison population has been notoriously large: some say the biggest in the world (with the sometimes exception of the U.S.'s federal prison system, which currently stands at 217,859). Reaching a peak of170,794 in 2006, California's prison population has reached a 17-year low of 135,519.

Which means that Texas, with 154,000 inmates, is now on top. 

California's inmate decline is primarily the result of changes to the state's parole system and prison realignment, which have both reduced the influx of inmates to state prison.

In 2011, the US Supreme Court upheld an order demanding California drastically reduce its prison population or else build more prisons to relieve overcrowding. 

 

Read More...

For the third time this month, a sex offender is apparently murdered in prison

California State Prison—Los Angeles County

CDCR

California State Prison—Los Angeles County in Lancaster.

An inmate was found dead in his cell Tuesday at California State Prison-Los Angeles County. The death is being treated as a homicide and the inmate's cellmate, Aaron Alvarez, 42, is a suspect. Alvarez, serving a life sentence for first degree murder, was placed in administrative segregation while the case is investigated by prison officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. 

The victim's name has not been released, as his family has not yet been notified of his death. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the deceased inmate had been in prison since November 30, 1999 for aggravated sexual assault of a child in San Diego County. 

Sex offenders are known targets of other inmates in prison. And this death is at least the third such apparent homicide of a sex offender in a California prison this month and at least the sixth this year.

Read More...

Up with people: LA population grew half a percent in 2011

welcome to california

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr Creative Commons

The Golden State glows bright with the light of new bodies as California approaches a population of nearly 37.7 million humans.

According to estimates released Tuesday by the state Department of Finance, California added 250,000 residents in 2011, a moderate increase at less that 1 percent, same as 2010.

The growth rate of CA's state population shows itself, to some degree, in the state of the real estate industry. 198,000 homes were added to the landscape during a housing peak in 2005. In 2011, that number looks more like 35,500, says the finance department.

Large Los Angeles grew its city people presence by approximately half a percent last year, bringing the grandiose total to more than 3.8 million Angelenos. Greater LA County grew in the following increments:

 LA COUNTY CITIES POP 1/2011 POP 1/2012  PERCENT 
Agoura Hills        20,371 20,413 0.2
Alhambra            83,366 83,661 0.4
Arcadia             56,486 56,546 0.1
Artesia             16,560 16,594 0.2
Avalon              3,768 3,780 0.3
Azusa               46,350 46,618 0.6
Baldwin Park        75,582 75,830 0.3
Bell                35,539 35,607 0.2
Bellflower          76,756 76,907 0.2
Bell Gardens        42,142 42,231 0.2
Beverly Hills       34,173 34,291 0.3
Bradbury            1,058 1,065 0.7
Burbank             104,193 104,427 0.2
Calabasas           23,109 23,683 2.5
Carson              91,455 91,828 0.4
Cerritos            49,128 49,223 0.2
Claremont           35,021 35,300 0.8
Commerce            12,846 12,871 0.2
Compton             96,820 97,058 0.2
Covina              47,880 48,038 0.3
Cudahy              23,847 23,893 0.2
Culver City         38,931 39,004 0.2
Diamond Bar         55,705 55,819 0.2
Downey              111,985 112,201 0.2
Duarte              21,358 21,411 0.2
El Monte            113,662 113,912 0.2
El Segundo          16,690 16,720 0.2
Gardena             58,946 59,124 0.3
Glendale            192,271 192,654 0.2
Glendora            50,207 50,361 0.3
Hawaiian Gardens    14,275 14,303 0.2
Hawthorne           84,762 85,047 0.3
Hermosa Beach       19,536 19,574 0.2
Hidden Hills        1,868 1,869 0.1
Huntington Park     58,216 58,329 0.2
Industry            439 436 -0.7
Inglewood           109,909 110,623 0.6
Irwindale           1,424 1,416 -0.6
La Canada Flintridge 20,279 20,335 0.3
La Habra Heights    5,334 5,352 0.3
Lakewood            80,172 80,378 0.3
La Mirada           48,608 48,697 0.2
Lancaster           157,629 157,826 0.1
La Puente           39,886 39,987 0.3
La Verne            31,122 31,461 1.1
Lawndale            32,824 32,887 0.2
Lomita              20,297 20,396 0.5
Long Beach          463,393 464,662 0.3
Los Angeles         3,806,411 3,825,297 0.5
Lynwood             69,506 69,897 0.6
Malibu              12,671 12,699 0.2
Manhattan Beach     35,209 35,239 0.1
Maywood             27,451 27,472 0.1
Monrovia            36,646 36,727 0.2
Montebello          62,723 62,857 0.2
Monterey Park       60,369 61,153 1.3
Norwalk             105,682 105,714 0.0
Palmdale            153,167 153,708 0.4
Palos Verdes Estates 13,465 13,516 0.4
Paramount           54,193 54,368 0.3
Pasadena            138,768 139,222 0.3
Pico Rivera         63,053 63,168 0.2
Pomona              149,452 149,950 0.3
Rancho Palos Verdes 41,721 41,897 0.4
Redondo Beach       66,895 67,007 0.2
Rolling Hills       1,866 1,875 0.5
Rolling Hills Estates 8,084 8,097 0.2
Rosemead            53,978 54,172 0.4
San Dimas           33,432 33,499 0.2
San Fernando        23,687 23,752 0.3
San Gabriel         39,796 39,926 0.3
San Marino          13,170 13,195 0.2
Santa Clarita       176,779 177,445 0.4
Santa Fe Springs    16,432 16,516 0.5
Santa Monica        90,080 90,223 0.2
Sierra Madre        10,936 10,963 0.2
Signal Hill         11,060 11,129 0.6
South El Monte      20,151 20,190 0.2
South Gate          94,563 94,320 -0.3
South Pasadena      25,664 25,725 0.2
Temple City         35,634 35,749 0.3
Torrance            145,770 146,115 0.2
Vernon              120 120 0.0
Walnut              29,407 29,661 0.9
West Covina         106,284 106,713 0.4
West Hollywood      34,599 34,681 0.2
Westlake Village    8,284 8,300 0.2
Whittier            85,482 85,654 0.2
Balance Of County 1,058,894 1,062,073 0.3

Read More...