Another possible solution to the county's and state's prison population problems — arrest fewer people.
That's not going to go over well with a lot of folks, especially when it seems like crimes and criminals are everywhere. But hold the condemnation for one second — we need all the ideas we can get when it comes to the sad state of the California penal system.
Drug offenses are one of the reasons the state's prison system is so full. It's also another reason why state spending on prisons will soon outstrip its investment in education — an unsavory propisition that speaks to wildly misplaced priorities.
Legalizing certain drugs like marijuana (at least for adults, as with alcohol and cigarettes) might be the easiest way to alleviate the pressure on the prison system, not to mention taking away the need and incentive for purveyors of the weed to pack heat. Such a move could reduce the quantity of many crimes associated with black-market drug-running.
With the prison system at a crisis point, it's at least worth strong consideration. Because the status quo simply isn't going to cut it.