That's the message Pat Nolan has for the legislators struggling with downsizing the notoriously overcrowded prison system of California in this op-ed from the San Jose Mercury News. Noting how the Right on Crime movement is bringing conservatives to the table to advocate for smarter sentencing policies and cutting prison costs, Nolan highlights a list of (traditionally) conservative states that are reaping the benefits of fairer, smarter justice:
South Carolina now reserves costly prison beds for dangerous criminals while punishing low-risk offenders through lower-cost mandatory community supervision. The state is expected to save $175 million in prison construction this year alone and $60 million in operating costs over the next several years.
Other states, under both Democratic and Republican governors, enacted similar reforms this year, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina. If leaders in those conservative states can reduce their prison populations, surely it's time for California.