Yes, California prisons are more expensive than they need to be. Good luck with reducing costs. Shipping prisoners to out-of-state for-profit prison firms is a good way of increasing your flow of campaign contributions, but generally not a good way of saving money: the for-profits are experts at “creaming” low-cost inmates while charging rates based on average cost, and “pro-business” Governors aren’t very good at driving hard bargains.
If you want to spend less money on prisons, you need to have fewer prisoners. That can be done – while also reducing crime – by doing a better job at enforcing the conditions of probation and parole.
Footnote In a previous post, I referred to Whitman as a “failed corporate bureaucrat.” That was unfair; I was thinking of Carly Fiorina. (Have you noticed that all rich Republican women politicians look alike?) I’m told that Whitman was a better-than-competent executive at eBay.