By Ken Epstein
The failure of California to provide reentry services for people coming out of prison is tied to the ongoing budget deficit that has ensnarled the state for many months, according to Oakland Assemblymember Sandre Swanon,
“Our system of parole and reentry is broken,” said Swanson, who says that California’s 70 recidivism rate is twice that of other states, costing nearly 10 percent of state budget, or $10 billion, that is spent on the prison system.
“We spend $46,000 a year on a prisoner,” Swanson said. “If we could cut the recidivism rate in half, it would go far to solve our budget mess.”
“We have a responsibility to our neighbors and our communities, who have a reasonable expectation that when a person comes back into community, he or she is prepared to function in a responsible way.”
Among bills introduced by Swanson to support expanded opportunities for the formerly incarcerated are the Green Jobs Worker Training Programs, the Probation Youth Success Act, addressing the AIDS pandemic through the Inmate and Community Public Health and Safety Act and the Transitional Assistance for Re-Entry Programs.