Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • The Governor is taking a major step in the right direction by reducing prison inmate length of stay. He is walking in the exact footsteps of former Governor Reagan in dealing with a budget shortfall and prison overcrowding. He should tie early release to the Inmate Work Incentive program, placing responsibility on inmates to qualify for early release.

    The Correctional System, particularly prisons, has failed to adapt to changing circumstances for so long that there are many opportunities for improvement and cost savings. Although most would probably be skeptical, the Governor could even avoid spending any of the $6.5 billion prison bed construction funding by releasing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for 16,600 correctional beds to house short term, low risk offenders currently occupying about 20 thousand prison beds. This would quickly eliminate prison overcrowding and avoid spending any money for prison bed construction. Operating costs for contract beds probably would be about 10% to 20% lower than state run beds.

    Local correctional beds would also enable the state to reduce parole violation rates to a reasonable level and save over $.5 billion in annual prison operating costs. The potential savings are huge!