Imagine you’re 18 years old and you commit a crime. A robbery. You go to prison at one of the only women’s facilities in the state. You get out a year later, on parole – and you’re back in the same neighborhood where you first got in trouble. You commit another crime. And the cycle starts all over again. That’s what happened to Courtney Samson.
Thirty years ago, the state spent three percent of its general fund dollars on corrections and prisons. Today it spends more than 11 percent – that’s $10 billion running the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
In 2011, when Governor Brown took office, he inherited a massive corrections problem. The state's 33 prisons were at nearly 200 percent capacity, and the recidivism rate was running at 70 percent. The federal courts stepped in and ordered California to reduce its overcrowded prisons by more than 30,000 people.