Monday, May 6, 2013

California looks to reduce prison population by paroling lifers

About 30 thousand inmates are serving life sentences in California prisons. Of those inmates, more than 9,000 are currently eligible for parole. UCLA Law Professor Sharon Dolovich says if the state is looking to reduce its prison population that might be a good place to start, reported Capital Public Radio.

"All the studies show that people who have served multiple decades in prison, when they are released have an incredibly low recidivism rate compared to the population of former prisoners over all," she says.

But Dolovich says the parole granting process has become politicized, which means a lot of inmates who should be paroled are not.

In a statement, the Department of Corrections responds: "There are many offenders in California prisons who have served the minimum term of a life sentence and so are considered for parole periodically by the Board of Parole Hearings. However, many of those inmates committed heinous crimes and the decision to release any one of them on parole - let alone thousands of them - deserves very serious consideration."

Federal courts have ordered California to reduce overcrowding by either releasing inmates or increasing prison capacity by the end of the year, reported Capital Public Radio.

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