By Marisa Lagos
The San Francisco Chronicle
Sacramento — As California deeply cut spending for public schools, social services and health programs in recent years, state leaders also found themselves grappling with a court order to reduce the prison population by tens of thousands of inmates.
Some civil rights groups and criminal justice experts are now seizing on this perfect storm of chronic deficits and crowded prisons to push for wide-ranging changes to the state's sentencing laws that would transform California's handling of crime and punishment. The California chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups want the state to reduce drug possession and low-level, nonviolent property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and they want more community-based alternatives to incarceration.
Full story:Calif. lags behind in reducing incarceration