China's overpopulation threatens the structure of their society. It is the leading driver of hunger, species extinction, and space overcrowding. In the United States, overpopulation in mainstream society is far from becoming a problem, but it is, and since the late 1980's, has been a very intense issue in prison population, and today, California faces a mandate to reduce it by 10%. Historically, California has turned to short term solutions such as out-of-state and private prisons, and while they provide temporary relief, the root of the problem, and thus the solution, lies somewhere else; it lies in the judicial system. Ever since the War on Drugs took effect, incarcerations skyrocketed as more and more non-violent offenders face strict mandatory sentences which send a big percentage of the State's population into the prison system. If that was not enough, after prisoners serve their sentences, and are released into society, they face extreme penalties and societal indifference which only increases the chances of being, yet again, imprisoned. In order to reduce prison population by 10% in California we must first recognize the cause of overcrowding, and then implement a series of measure to ensure a long term solution to mass incarcerations.
The root cause of prison overcrowding is the War on Drugs. In 1971, President Nixon initialized the "War" by increasing the presence of drug control agencies across the nation and pushing for measures such as mandatory sentencing. Nixon' policies, however, did not reach full development, but they served as a foundation for President Ronald Reagan's true War on Drugs. Harsh sentencing for minor drug offenses, warrantless searches, and zero tolerance policies are just a few initiatives of the War on Drugs. This is the model California follows today, and it is what has been overpacking prisons since the 1980s. Between 1980 and 2005, the number of drug arrests more than tripled from 581,000 to 1,846,351 (Mauer, 3.