PPIC on prisons
|As the Legislature and governor debate what to do about California's prison system (seemingly Democrats and Republicans can only agree that its broken), it seems like a good idea to see what the PPIC says about Who's in Prison?|
Here's the start of the summary:
For issues of crime and punishment, California has experienced a dynamic period over the past 15 years. Voters and legislators have chosen to impose harsher criminal penalties but also to experiment with alternatives to incarceration. The federal courts have taken management of the entire prison health care system away from the state itself; they have also ruled that California’s racial segregation policy in prisons is unconstitutional. And as a larger number of Californians are confined to prison, concern has mounted about the effects of incarceration policies on all Californians, in particular on the families and communities that prisoners leave behind and to whom many eventually return.
The state prison population has grown three times faster than the general adult population since 1990 and at year-end 2005 stood at 167,698. African Americans have the highest incarceration rates of any group (5,125 per 100,000 adults in the population for men and 346 per 100,000 for women, compared to 1,159 and 62, respectively, for all adults), although Latinos now constitute the largest ethnic group in the prison system, at 38 percent of the total.
The prison population is aging, with adults under age 25 representing a steadily declining share while the number of prisoners in older age groups continues to grow. Currently, the share of prisoners age 50 and older is 11 percent, up from 4 percent in 1990, whereas the share of prisoners under age 25 has declined from 20 percent to 14 percent.
The full report is worth a read.