At least 75% of the people in our prisons shouldn't be there at all. I suggest the following steps for all states facing prison overcrowding and/or budget shortages:
1. Eliminate all state drug laws. Although the states can't unilaterally end the war on drugs, if Eric Holder and Barack Obama want to prosecute potheads, they can do it their goddamned selves without the assistance or cooperation of the states.
2. Cut the sentences for all nonviolent crimes in half.
3. Nonviolent offenders should never spend a day in prison unless they're a flight risk. Give them house arrest, or a halfway home, or something like that. The purpose of prison is to keep dangerous people away from the rest of society.
4. Make more of an effort to find jobs for people who have been released from prison. Lower or eliminate the minimum wage for ex-cons so that they are able to find someone to hire them. Additionally, criminal records should be scrubbed after 7ish years from release, with the exception of the most severe crimes (rape, murder, etc).