The Democrats have blamed prison crowding on our state's stiff penalties, such as Three Strikes, which they claim is an unfair law that should be reformed. The truth is that California's prisons are overcrowded for one reason: Lawmakers have failed to build more prisons, ignoring the growth in our prison population over the last few decades. In fact, this state has authorized only one new prison in California in the last 13 years.
Let's put that in context. The population of California 13 years ago was 32.5 million. Today, it is 37 million. We have almost 5 million more citizens, but only one new prison — a facility that holds fewer than 5,000 criminals.
Not only is this a gross failure in meeting the needs of our inmate population, but it shows a failure of the state legislature to address the impact of illegal immigration on our prison system.