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CA County Jails Squeezed for Resources, Seek Solution

Josh Jaquish is a technology and business consulting executive with nearly 20 years of experience. Read More

For many state and local governments, the story sounds like a broken record - jails continue to experience overcrowding and underdevelopment in a time when budgets are already tight. In light of legislation such as California's AB 109 "prison realignment" law, local detention facilities have seen a heavy influx of non-violent criminals as these individuals continue to fill county jails. It's hard to remain optimistic when evaluating situations like this, but I'm confident that with the right IT consulting and software solutions, these state and local institutions can finally solve these persistent problems.

Infrastructure demands pile up

Despite its best efforts to strike a balance of state and local responsibility,California remains in a tough position when it comes to the management of its prison system, according to a recent report from NBC San Diego. Now that state penitentiaries are reserved primarily for dangerous and unstable inmates, local jails have been forced to pick up the slack by supporting a substantial chunk of the prison population. The source explained that county courthouses and police stations simply do not have the material and administrative resources to handle the influx properly, straining their infrastructure.

"The system's facilities were never designed for long-term-stay people," grand jury foreman Gregory Ny said in an interview Tuesday, according to the news source. "We've got people that are going to be incarcerated for as long as 10 years. And with that comes increased issues of housing, medical treatment."

With pressure mounting from all angles, it would seem that everyone has ended up on the losing end in this scenario - government officials remain frustrated, taxpayers grit their teeth at tax spikes and prison inmates are seeing declining living conditions week after week. I can't help but think that an overhauled tech blueprint could help these parties see through the fog and decide on a more sound strategy for the future. With CRM-style offender tracking software readily available and easy to implement, there doesn't appear to be a more appropriate solution.

There is time to make a change

The Los Angeles Times effectively admitted defeat with regard to its own criminal justice woes, but hopelessness is never a very good strategy. Rather than accepting the difficulties brought on by the most recent shifts in the California prison system, I feel that it is time for leaders to come forth with a substantial plan for the future. Aligning with a dedicated tech advisor and vendor can spark the change that the state needs to finally get this growing problem under control.

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