Prison Overcrowding in California

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Prison Overcrowding in California
Jeffrey Shaw
Josette Ford
May 6, 2013

The California prisons have been crowded for decades. This cannot continue to go on. One of the reasons that the prisons are overcrowded is because of the types and lengths of sentences. Other reasons why the prisons are overcrowded is because many of the prisoners are there on non-violent crimes. Also many of the sentences are for smaller crimes. The one recent event that is dealing with this problem is release program that is letting out around 40,000 inmates over the next few years. This might be a good idea, yet we will not see the results for some time. This can possibly increase the crimes in our counties. There has to be other cures or suggestions that we can use to keep people from going to prison so that they do not add to the overcrowding problem. Something needs to be done now. With today’s struggling economy we cannot afford to have our prisons overcrowded.

The Supreme Court decided on May 23, 2011 that the overcrowding of the California prisons was a violation of the Eighth Amendment rights (Brown, Governor of California, et al. v. Plata et al.) This decision pushed for the Assembly Bill AB 109 which helped to stop prisoners from going in and out of the state prison system. “ It is the cornerstone of California’s solution for reducing the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prison to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 27, 2013, as ordered by the Three-Judge Court and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court” (

According to an article from International Business Times, because of California’s financial situation they are in no position to build new prisons and because they have so many prisoners is the reason why they are out of money. “California spends over $10 billion a year jailing and taking care of prisoners” (Romaine, 2011, par 2). Crimes that are non violent and non sexual in nature need to punished another way besides prison...
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