San Quentin to Give Rehab a Try
SAN QUENTIN, Calif. - A pilot rehabilitation program at San Quentin State Prison will be dramatically expanded in an effort to keep paroled felons from returning to California's already overcrowded prisons.
The program currently gives about 150 inmates instruction in anger management, addiction recovery counseling, and parenting, health and life skills. It will soon be offered to about 1,000 inmates, San Quentin Warden Robert Ayers said.
The planned expansion was announced Friday, as the state's prison secretary announced that California will start forcing as many as 5,000 inmates to move to other states, with the first transfers possible within days.
Corrections Secretary James Tilton said the action is needed to relieve overcrowding in the nation's largest state prison system. California's 33 state prisons are designed to hold 100,000 inmates but currently house about 174,000.
San Quentin will get no additional state funding to expand its rehabilitation program, and will continue to rely on funding from private donors.
A smaller version of the program was started four years ago under a previous warden, but there is no data on its effect on recidivism.
A report issued by a state commission found that about 70 percent of all California parolees return to prison within three years. It found few incentives for offenders to improve themselves, and said those who want to improve their education or learn job skills have few programs available to them.
Information from: Marin Independent Journal, http://www.marinij.com