About Saki Knafo

Saki Knafo, Huffington Post General Assignment Writer, has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, the Believer, GQ, Details, and Publishers Weekly. His work has appeared in two anthologies, Lost and Found: Stories from New York (Mr. Beller's Neighborhood) and New York Stories: Best of the City Section. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, before every writer in America was contractually obligated to live there.

LA Jail System Not Expanding After All As Taft Deal Dies

Prison reform advocates were appalled when Los Angeles County’s top elected officials last month agreed to lease an empty jail about two hours from Downtown LA. “It’s so disappointing,” Lynne Lyman, the California director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group, said at the time. Los Angeles County, which includes the city of LA, already had more people behind bars than any other U.S. county or city -- more than Miami and New York City combined. By adding the remote Taft … [Read more...]

California’s Overcrowding Crisis: For-Profit Prisons Win Big

When America's largest private prison company opened a 2,000-bed facility in a barren stretch of the Mojave Desert in southeastern California in 1997, there was no guarantee that any inmates would ever reside there. California's exceptionally powerful prison guard union was waging a fierce campaign against private prison companies, telling voters that the facilities were poorly run and that the industry would take away union jobs. "Public safety should not be for profit," Don Novey, president … [Read more...]

How America’s Biggest Jail System Just Got Bigger

Two years ago, in an effort to ease overcrowding in California’s prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a law that shifted the responsibility for many low-level, nonviolent offenders to the counties. Almost immediately, the dangerously overcrowded state prison system grew less crowded. But as the prison population waned, county jails began filling up, leading some critics of the policy to argue that California had merely traded prison overcrowding for jail overcrowding. Left with the burden of … [Read more...]

Jerry Brown Considers Prison Alliance Between Private Company, Union

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has no intention of releasing state prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, despite a federal court order requiring the state to reduce its prison population by the end of the year, sources told HuffPost. Instead, Brown and legislative leaders are discussing a proposal to create an unconventional partnership between the state's powerful prison guard union and the nation's largest private prison corporation -- an alliance that may permanently expand California's … [Read more...]