BERKELEY (KCBS)— The state’s plan to release non-violent offenders to jails in Bay Area counties may impact drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. The under-funded programs could see an increase in clientele once the state releases low-risk inmates.

The courts have said that California’s prison system is well beyond capacity and the release to local authorities would ease overcrowding.

Governor Brown is pushing a Public Safety Realignment proposal that would do just that. But ex-felon Arthur League said he doubts that this is about improving the lives of inmates.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

“The only reason we’re having this conversation is because California doesn’t have enough money to lock up more and more people. We’ve got to get real about this. It’s not a conversation about people,” said League.

League spoke at a community forum in Berkeley on the governor’s realignment proposal. Lindsey Bolar was there too.

“My story is I just did 23 years in prison. I’ve been out a year and a half and I’m a counselor at Options Recovery Services here in Berkeley.”

Bolar added that the agency has been successful in helping ex-felons with substance abuse addiction or mental illness problems.

The facility’s mission is to prevent these ex-felons from going back to prison. Bolar said unfortunately the state has cut funding for this program.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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