Hadar Aviram

A hard look at the prison budget

Not only is this system inhumane and counterproductive, it's also expensive: it costs about $40,000 dollars a year to keep a prisoner behind bars.

OPINION Last week's grim budget news from Sacramento reminded me of Edward Lorenz's often-quoted maxim, according to which the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas. California's budget, which we have consistently ignored and abused since the passage of Proposition 13, turns out not to have been limitless. And many residents, for whom our prison system had been invisible, may have found out for the first time that our correctional apparatus constitutes more than 7 percent of the state's annual budget. Read more »