I've just read Angela Davis' Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003):
"Consider the case of California, whose landscape has been thoroughly prisonized over the last twenty years. The first state prison in California was San Quentin, which opened in 1852. Folsom, another well-known institution opened in 1880. Between 1880 and 1933, when a facility for women was opened in Tehachapi, there was not a single new prison constructed. In 1952, the California Institution for Women opened and Tehachapi became a new prison for men. In all, between 1852 and 1955, nine prisons were constructed in California. Between 1962 and 1965, two camps were established, along with the California Rehabilitation Center. Not a single prison opened during the second half of the sixties, nor during the entire decade of the 1970s.
"However, a massive project of prison construction was initiated during the 1980s--that is, during the years of the Reagan presidency. Nine prisons, including the Northern California Facility for Women, were opened between 1984 and 1989. Recall that it had taken more than a hundred years to build the first nine California prisons. In less than a single decade, the number of California prisons doubled. And during the 1990s, twelve new prisons were opened, including two more for women. In 1995, the Valley State Prison for Women was opened. According to its mission statement, it "provides 1,980 women's beds for California's overcrowded prison system." However, in 2002, there were 3,570 prisoners and the other two women's prisons were equally overcrowded.
"There are now thirty-three prisons, thirty-eight camps, sixteen community correctional facilities, and five tiny prisoner mother facilities in California. In 2002 there were 157,979 people incarcerated in these institutions, including approximately twenty thousand people whom the state holds for immigration violations."
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I'm going to do some more reading on this, myself, but here are websites to resources listed in the back of the book: Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex, Human Rights Watch, Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, Justice Now, The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, Prison Activist Resource Center, Prison Legal News, Prison Moratorium Project, The Sentencing Project.