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Low Stabbing Ratio
Inspector General's Report:
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Fast Facts and Information on the Honor
“Can anything be done…? The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
can do some things on its own. It could allow inmates wanting and able to enroll
in rehab programs to be housed together. It could better identify and train
officers to run the programs. And it could work to lessen the hostility between
management and prison guards, thereby motivating officers to help conduct rehab
--Professor Joan Petersilia, Understanding California Corrections
• The Honor Program, created in 2000 by prisoners and non-custody staff with the
desire to lower violence, crime, racism, and drug use, has proven to be very
effective. It is located on Facility-A (which houses about 600 men) at the Level
IV maximum security California State Prison, Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC)
• Prisoners must apply to participate in the program. They are screened, must
have a clean record, and must state a desire to commit to more demanding
criteria, including abstaining from violence, racism, gang involvement, and drug
use. (Random drug testing is part of the program.)
• The Honor Program requires each prisoner to create an “Individual Development
Plan” to achieve self-improvement goals. Prisoners agree to take responsibility
for their own personal growth and transformation, and are involved in programs
or activities that address emotional, psychological, social and/or vocational
• The Honor Program allows prisoners to have a choice between the negative group
punishment model or personal responsibility and individual accountability. It
clearly separates those who really want to change and improve.
• The Honor Program has demonstrated the desire of prisoners to help others, to
give back to the community, and to make amends for past wrongdoings. Tens of
thousands of dollars has been raised for, and thousands of contributions have
been made by, Honor Program prisoners to non-profit organizations, Toys for Tots
and similar groups, the poor around the world by eyeglasses refurbishing
programs, and many other areas of help for the needy.
• In its first year of operation The Honor Program at CSP-LAC:
- Saved the taxpayers of California over $200,000
- Reduced weapons offenses by 88% and violence by 85%
- In its six years of operation, the Honor Program has functioned without
a single major violent incident, with savings of millions of dollars to the
state of California.
• With greater official support, so much more is possible through the Honor
Program. Many positive opportunities have been dashed as a result of a lack of
desire to explore safe, workable, and economically sensible options.
• The Honor Program must be made a part of the California Code of Regulations,
Title 15, to insure its long-term success. Thank you for your support and
Fast Facts and Information on California
• California has the largest, most expensive correctional system in
the nation, and it is filled to twice its intended capacity.
• With more than 174, 000 inmates in 33 adult prisons, the state’s annual
correctional spending, including jails and probation, amounts to $8.92 billion.
• With the worst recidivism rate in the country, California’s crowded prisons
are filled with parolees who churn in and out of the system. Two out of three
incoming inmates are parolees. Only 1 in 5 parolees completes his or her parole
term without going back. Of the approximately 120,000 inmates released annually,
about 70% of them are back behind bars within 24 months – nearly twice the
national average. Worse yet, about 10% of these prisoners will repeatedly return
– six or more times over a seven-year period, according to one study. No other
state reports such a high inmate-churn rate.
• The 120,000 parolees who are released into our neighborhoods each year have
endured the extreme trauma of the prison experience and years of exposure to
other “hardened” criminals. (If an individual was not “hardened” before he went
into prison, he certainly is when he gets out (see recidivism rate)).
• The enormous recidivism rate directly affects the two most important areas of
concern for our communities and for the state of California: safety for our
children, families, and businesses, and a huge tax and financial burden.
• California prisons are so overcrowded it has forced more than 17,000 inmates
into gymnasium and classroom housing, a dangerous alternative that puts both
guards and prisoners at risk.
• Studies show that California inmates are less likely than their counterparts
in other states to receive any sort of educational or vocational training while