Non-violent crimes make big money in California prisons

By Tiffani Kjeldergaard

A marijuana arrest is classified as a non-violent offence, unless of course, you use violence. For the peaceful cultivator, transporter, possessor, or seller of marijuana, this pertains to you. You are the California prison system’s big ticket item! California calculates their budget for all prisoners, regardless of where they are housed, in order to get financing for each one. The state has established a courtesy supervision partnership with Arizona to house the growing number of non-violent prisoners in California. When they ship these non-violent prisoners to Arizona, it costs their state $22,794.00 per year for each California prisoner they house; however, this cost is not absorbed by Arizona taxpayers, it is billed to each prison. California taxpayers pay a WHOPPING $47,102.00 per year for each prisoner, regardless if they are housed in California or in Arizona.

California budgets are submitted yearly with as large of a head count as possible, but when the prisons get their budget for all the prisoners accounted for, and after the check is cashed, the prisoners start getting “Farmed Out” to other states like Arizona and Oklahoma. The difference in costs for one prisoner per year between Arizona and California is $24,308.00. Where does this money go? If the California prison system can send 10 marijuana-prosecuted Californians to serve 5 years in Arizona, the profit of unused funds is $243,080.00. In 5 years, that sum becomes $1.2 million dollars of “free money” for California prisons on 10 marijuana arrests. Is that enough free “unused money” to keep busting as many non-violent offenders as possible?

We can’t stop this until prohibition has ended. It’s our turn to end this cycle of financing “slush funds” for California prisons.

Facts and information taken from and

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