Even before Realignment was a talking point, well before it became a reality, a study was underway by some of California’s leading institutions. They were trying to figure out how the state could safely and cost-effectively ease the overcrowding of the state’s high-security prisons.

The study, which took 18 months to complete, says that the state could consider moving some of the lower-risk high-security inmates to medium- and minimum- security prisons. Those facilities are experiencing an exodus of their populations due to last year’s Realignment plan.

The move to re-populate the now under-capacity facilities could save the state millions of dollars in construction costs and could help the state comply with the court ruling to reduce prison populations.

The Legislative Analyst Office concurred with the report, saying that there will be an almost equalizing discrepancy between the medium- and maximum-security prisons. High-security facilities will be over-populated by 12,900 inmates, while other facilities will have 13,200 vacancies.

From the Associated Press:

The state can safely house some maximum-security inmates in lower-level prisons, a development that could save taxpayers money, according to a University of California study obtained by The Associated Press.

The 18-month study by five criminology experts comes as a new state law sends thousands of lower-level offenders to local jails instead of state prisons.

Read the full article here.