California prison overhaul may cut inmate time behind bars.

California's correctional system is about to undergo an overhaul that…

California’s correctional system is about to undergo an overhaul that could save money and reduce recidivism but also might lead to thousands of criminals spending significantly less time behind bars or in the parole office.

The so-called “prison realignment” beginning Saturday will transfer the state’s responsibility for lower-level drug offenders, thieves and other convicts to county jurisdictions.

Some prosecutors and county sheriffs predict rising crime and other dire outcomes from what amounts to the most radical change in the prison system in decades. But others say California’s counties can provide better rehabilitation and job training services that can only improve on the state’s recidivism record, in which nearly seven of every 10 ex-convicts are returned to state prison after committing a new crime.

Source: Don Thompson and Thomas Watkins for the Associated Press.

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