Prison Realignment has been beneficial to the State as it works to comply with a court order to reduce its total prison population. However, as non-violent and low-level offenders are moved into local control, the challenge remains of how to house the high-risk inmates.

And it is becoming a greater problem, as the maximum-security prisons remain overcrowded. It is expected that the state will have 13,000 fewer maximum-security beds than it needs.

However, Realignment will leave the state with a surplus of available beds for low-level offenders – as many as 15,000. That has some calling for low-security facilities to be re-tooled to handle the higher-risk inmates. Included in the list of potential remedies are projects like the transition of the Valley State Prison for Women. That facility will soon host men inmates, and in the opinion of the LAO, that facility could be used for maximum-security purposes.

From KPCC Public Radio:

Last year, California began complying with a federal court order to reduce its prison population by shifting thousands of low-level felons to county custody. It’s called “realignment” and although it helped bring down the number of inmates in prison, it won’t solve another problem: Where to put the thousands of serious and violent inmates.

The number of inmates in state prisons has already dropped by 16,000 since realignment took effect in October. Corrections officials project that the diversion of low-level felons to counties will reduce the state prison population by 40,000 inmates within a few years. But California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation can’t shift serious felons to the counties.

Read the full article here.