Now we're beginning to regret it. The costs of incarcerating a felon for a year run around what it costs to attend a public college. And according to the same report, prison terms are "criminogenic." Great word coinage that.
We've begun to let some folks out; California voters passed Prop. 47 last fall, leading to reduction of nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors.
But what if, when these people get out, they can't get jobs because employers don't dare look beyond their criminal records?
The All of Us or None campaign works in California at removing the many obstacles to bringing people out of prison and back into the community including removing gang injunctions, clearing their records where possible, and restoring voting rights.
The National Employment Law Center publishes an excellent map that shows where victories in the campaign to "Ban the Box" have already been won. California is one of those places.