Prison Reforms must focus on Rehabilitation


By Larry Bowler, Rick Jaramillo and Dennis Zarro
Published: Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3G

Re “Time to split up corrections department” (Viewpoints, Dec. 10):

J. Clark Kelso, the federal receiver for California’s Prison Health Care Services made specific suggestions for carving up the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The department needs to remain concentrated and focused, but substantially reduced in size – a lean, efficient agency to help get our prison population under control, while releasing parolees who have job skills and thereby a chance at success.

The department should have only two missions. First, provide safe and secure incarceration. Second, thoroughly rehabilitate inmates who will be on parole. The parole division should be proactive instead of haphazardly reactive. Parolees with skills and livable wage jobs can become more responsible community members and help reduce local law enforcement costs and street crime.

Let’s concentrate on what should be the most important mission for California’s neighborhoods, rehabilitated and employable parolees. All inmates who are within one year of release should be enrolled in intensive vocational job training. This training would be paired with an identical course operated by an adult education campus in the community to which the parolee will return. This is called “inside-outside” training. When the inmate is paroled, he or she will finish on the outside the training course they started taking inside, and then placed in a job.

The best news for inside-outside training? Federal Pell grants are available to pay most of the cost of outside instruction and job placement.

CDCR parole is too expensive and profoundly broken. Technology exists to place all parolees on a wrist or ankle monitor for the first year of parole.

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