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Overcrowding in California correctional facilities: the case of non-violent recidivism

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This study will investigate strategies to reduce overcrowding in California correctional facilities. Many of the facilities are operating at 200% capacity with a majority of offenders housed in gymnasiums, day rooms, and other public areas in the facility. The operation of correctional facilities at more than capacity increases fiscal costs, social costs, and security threats within the facility. In order to reduce the correctional population, California must address its high non-violent recidivism rate. To address this problem I investigate four U.S. state correctional departments and determine that they have successful program delivery approaches for both substance abuse and employment programs. Many of the programs have helped reduce recidivism rates to below the national average. After proposing and evaluating four policy alternatives, I recommend that California initiate an offender program auditing division to evaluate correctional programs for monetary efficiency and program effectiveness in reducing recidivism.
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