California embarks on corrections overhaul
9/29/2011 4:22:10 PM - AP News
LOS ANGELES (AP) — California's correctional system is about to undergo its most fundamental change in decades.The realignment beginning Saturday transfers the state's responsibility for lower-level drug offenders, thieves and other convicts to county jurisdictions.It's designed to save the state money and reduce the number of offenders committing new crimes. But it also might lead to thousands of criminals spending less time behind bars or in the parole office.Some prosecutors and county sheriffs predict rising crime and other dire outcomes.Others say California's counties can provide better rehabilitation services that can only improve on the state's dismal record. Currently, nearly seven of every 10 ex-convicts are returned to state prison after committing a new crime.Officials say they had little choice after a federal court ordered California to reduce prison crowding.