“What’s Ahead for California’s Dysfunctional Prisons?”
The Crime Report has an interview with Matthew Cate, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation — worth reading in full for California wonks. Here’s an excerpt:
TCR: What are your two or three major accomplishments?
Cate: Reducing prison overcrowding while seeing crime rates in California continue to decline, is accomplishment number one. Number two is parole reform, where as I’ve mentioned, we’ve developed and used a risk assessment tool to identify and focus our resources on our most dangerous inmates, rather than just cycling our low risk inmates through our prisons over and over again for technical violations. This concept of basing our decisions on the science of who’s risky and who’s not is a major step forward in California.
TCR: What has been your biggest frustration?
Cate: The fact that corrections reform takes so long. It took two-and-a-half years to put in place the basic rudiments of parole reform. It was a highly politicized issue, and there were civil service and bureaucratic rules that had to be dealt with. The red tape is so unbelievable in California that it takes a long time to make anything happen even when everyone agrees it should be done.