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Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Program Director Gerald Miller offers his insight on the overcrowding of California prisons. He discusses the criminalization of unwanted social behaviors, what overcrowding actually looks like, the effects it has on violence, and the important role community programs play in fixing this problem. Listen to staff Ashley Afferino interview CJCJ Program Director and SF Reentry Commissioner Gerald Miller on prison overcrowding.

Brief History

  • From 1852 – 1984, 12 prisons were built in California.
  • From 1984 to present day, 21 prisons were built.
  • All of the facilities in California currently operate over 100% capacity; not one of California’s prisons operates at or below capacity.
  • During the mid 1970’s there was a shift to determinate sentencing, focusing on punishment instead of rehabilitation. This played a key role in the increase in prison population.