California has begun the process of releasing 6,500 inmates over the next year. Due to a series of tough-on-crime initiatives, the prison population in California has increased a whopping 750% since the mid-1970s. Now, the prison system accounts for 11% of the state budget -- that is currently in a state of crisis.
Last year, a federal appeals court ordered the state to release 40,000 inmates over the next two years due to dangerous overcrowding and the state's inability to meet the health needs of the prison population. That ruling is still in effect.
See also: Federal Appeals Court Orders California to Release 40,000 Inmates