Gov. Jerry Brown this month signed Assembly Bill 109, historic legislation that will enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of our expensive state-prison system. The bill shifts key responsibilities and funding to counties, which can more effectively sanction – and rehabilitate – offenders.
For too long, California’s prison system has outpaced the nation in spending, recidivism and overcrowding – and has had an antiquated parole system. We have paid an unsustainable premium for returning low-level parolees to prison and for doing much at the state level that should be done locally.
California spends nearly $9 billion on corrections annually, or about $50,000 per prisoner (the national average is $23,000).