The Price of Our Prisons

Sentencing the State to More Debt

And now, an NBC Bay Area editorial-

Most states spend seven percent of their budgets on prisons. In California, it's almost 11%. And our new Attorney General wants an overhaul.

I'm Suzanne Shaw (NBC Bay Area Editorial Director)

Surely, we need prisons to protect us from violent criminals. But non-violent inmates make up almost half the population. Attorney General Kamala Harris says for low level offenders, there are far more effective ways than prison to prevent crime. In San Francisco, she pioneered re-entry programs that give non-violent offenders the skills to get jobs.

With Goodwill and Nordstrom as partners, The "Back on Track" program costs just $5,000 per offender, compare that to over $47,000 for each inmate.

NBC Bay Area believes successful re-entry programs for non-violent offenders should be rolled out statewide. Early intervention may be the best crime prevention.

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