These reports provide information on new admissions (as opposed to parole violators) to the California state prison system, including by offense type. Based on these reports, at least 1,560 people were sent to state prisons for marijuana-related offenses between 2011 and 2016.
Importantly, this figure is necessarily an undercount of the total number of people actually prosecuted for marijuana offenses during Harris’s term as Attorney General. The sharp decline between 2011 and 2012 is not a reflection of leniency on Harris’s part, but because of something called Public Safety Realignment.
A federal court found in 2011 that California’s state-level prisons were dangerously overcrowded, ordering it to reduce populations to more manageable levels. To do so, the state began filtering many lower-level offenders—including drug offenders—into county jails, meaning that they dropped out of state-level totals but were still incarcerated.