On Nov. 6, ProPublica, The Sacramento Bee and Stanford Law School’s Criminal Justice Center will present “Overcorrection: The Unintended Consequences of California Prison Reform.” Bringing together speakers from law enforcement, state government, advocacy and investigative journalism, this in-depth discussion will dig into the unintended consequences of California’s efforts to reduce the population of state prisons: overcrowded, violent and increasingly deadly conditions in its county jails.
The forum at Stanford Law School kicks off ProPublica’s “Investigating Justice” event series, which will focus on a variety of legal issues spotlighted by the nonprofit newsroom’s investigative reporting. Co-hosted at law schools across the nation, the series invites top experts to push the conversation forward and consider possible pathways to reform. Upcoming “Investigating Justice” events will take place this fall and winter at Tulane and Yale.
In a joint investigative series this year, ProPublica and the Bee have been reporting on what went wrong after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce the population of its overcrowded prisons. State officials approved sweeping reforms called “realignment” in 2011, shifting responsibility for thousands of offenders from state prisons to county jails. While realignment brought relief to state prisons, jails have struggled to handle the influx of individuals charged with and incarcerated for more violent crimes. The problems are compounded by facilities ill-equipped to accommodate long sentences, short-handed staff, nonexistent oversight and mentally ill people who lack mental health resources. As a result, death rates are rising in markedly higher numbers.
Since 2011, homicides among incarcerated individuals have risen 46% in county jails statewide compared with the seven years before, a McClatchy and ProPublica analysis found. Killings tripled and even quadrupled in several counties. Overall, three-quarters of those killed in jails since 2011 were accused but not convicted, awaiting trial. Some of the victims were hours away from being released.
At “Overcorrection: The Unintended Consequences of California Prison Reform,” Criminal Justice Center executive director Debbie Mukamal will moderate a conversation with:
- Vicki Hennessy, the sheriff of San Francisco
- Jose Valle, Silicon Valley De-Bug community organizer
- Jason Pohl, Sacramento Bee reporter
- Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica reporter
- Other invited guests
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019
Stanford Law School, Crown Room 280A