Eleven years ago California’s prison system was bursting at the seams. Gymnasiums were being used as dormitories, and inmates were sleeping in triple bunks. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency that allowed for urgent measures to be taken to bring down the population inside, including shipping thousands of inmates to prisons in other states.
At one point California was planning to bring all prisoners back in-state by 2016, but that deadline has come and gone. Governor Brown recently vetoed a bill that would have stopped California from using private out-of-state prisons by 2021.
Daletha Hayden’s youngest son, William Mitchell, is one of 4,000 California prisoners currently serving time out of state. Nine years ago, he was convicted of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He was sent to state prison in California, but then he was moved to Arizona and finally to a privately run facility in Mississippi.
Hayden hadn’t seen her son for a year, when she traveled to the Mississippi prison to visit him.