In California, where prison overcrowding has reached crisis proportions, more than 60,000 inmates are being released every year. Between 60 and 80 percent of them, however, are being returned to prison within three years either for re-offending or for parole violations. It’s a vicious circle impairing the nation-wide effort to end mass incarceration and reduce prison populations and related out-of-control costs.

Several innovative programs developed to combat these problems are showing significant promise in terms of overcoming reentry obstacles and sentencing reform as well as pre-trial diversion and incarceration alternatives.

A July 16th article in the East Bay Express (Oakland, Calif.), authored by Andrew Scot Bolsinger, offers details on these programs, the organizations behind them and information that suggests how they can be implemented in other states such as Illinois, where efforts such as support for HB 3668 – the pending bill to offer sentencing relief for aging and health-impaired prisoners – are currently gaining momentum.

“The U.S. criminal justice system,” according to Bolsinger, “has recently begun to undergo a dramatic paradigm shift. The nation’s four-decade-long infatuation with tough-on-crime policies and long prisons sentences has started to give way to growing concerns about prison overcrowding and its associated costs.”

To read the article, click here.