Prison Overcrowding

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In 1994, the state of California followed the lead of Washington and signed a law that Californians know of as the three strikes law. With all the campaigning and publicity surrounding the law it was overwhelmingly welcomed into the legal system. The purpose of the law was to elongate the sentence of time spent in prison for repeat offenders, mainly focusing in violent or major crimes. As a result, the correction’s system has felt the effects of the law literally on prisons. Overcrowding prisons is a major problem in California and the state has a limited amount of time to correct the population reach in the California prisons.

Prison population has been an issue for every California governor office to face since the first prison in 1851; San Quentin state prison opened its doors to the public. It wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s California really had a problem; prisons were now over capacity and California needed to build more facilities to keep the public safe from dangerous felons and sex offenders. In fact, some prison systems grew so large, so quickly, that it became difficult for prison officials to keep track of the names and locations of all of the facilities in their system, let alone to meaningfully supervise and oversee them. The state has finally been put in the hot seat by the supreme court and can no longer ignore the issue of overcrowding in the system, governor Jerry Brown will now have to take action to alleviate a problem that has needed to be corrected for a very lengthy period of time.

Around the late 1980s the California state prison population began to increase heavily since the passage of the three strikes law that was implemented into the legal system. Many California voters overwhelmingly su...

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