SCOTUS rules on California Prison overcrowding


It has been a long time coming, but there is now a final ruling on Cali’s huge overcrowded prisons. From Jurist:

The US Supreme Court on Friday effectively required California to carry out a lower court’s order and come up with a plan to reduce the number of inmates in its prisons. In a brief order, the Court said that it would not stay an earlier order by a special federal court panel compelling California to create a plan that will reduce the state’s overcrowding from its current level of 190 percent of maximum capacity to a more manageable 137.5 percent. The Supreme Court, however, noted that California was only appealing its need to create a plan to reduce prison overcrowding and that, ultimately, the Supreme Court would have a say in the special panel’s final order for the California prison system.

In its earlier order, the lower court noted that that due to extremely poor medical care, one inmate was “dying needlessly every six or seven days.” In August 2008, California’s court-appointed prison medical overseer J.Clark Kelso asked the court to force the state to add 8 billion dollars over the next five years to bring prison healthcare to constitutionally acceptable standards. In response to a 2006 order to reduce overcrowding, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the transfer of some prisoners out-of-state. (emphasis mine)

It really pisses me the fuck off that Cali prisons are so grossly over-crowded and yet the state has been fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo intact. I thought we had more compassionate liberals here than most states.

Apparently not.

How would lowering the prison population to 137 percent of capacity make them easier to manage? From a 2006 report:

Since 1990, the prison population has increased by 73 percent – nearly three times faster than the general adult population. California prisons currently hold about 171,000 adults; approximately 616 per 100,000 adults in California are in state prison. California ranks 17th among all states for incarceration rates.

Gee, somehow I thought we ranked higher in incarceration rates. What a relief that we are only 17th. (snark alert)

California spends over $10 Billion dollars a year on prisons. That is 11 percent of our general fund.

Is it possible that we have such massive overcrowding because our state government has cut or ended most programs that rehabilitate prisoners, thereby increasing the recidivism rate? From HuffPo on this subject:

California on the other hand is going in the opposite direction. They have eliminated drug treatment programs, sex offender counseling and virtually every program which prepares inmates to live healthy, productive lives after they are released. These cuts allow the prisons to keep the maximum number of inmates incarcerated, but with no programs to occupy their time productively. Why? It certainly isn’t making us safer.

Fuck no it doesn’t make us safer. Even TX has more common sense on this issue than Cali does.

So now, Ahnold will finally have to deal with the prison overcrowding issue, as will the idiots in the State Assembly. They have wasted years fighting the fed’s on this issue, but now it’s time to shut-the-fuck-up and fix it.

All the law and order types will now commence screeching and bitching about letting criminals out on the streets. They have no one to blame but themselves.

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About Dusty, hells most vocal bitch

I am a..brown Cali bitch that is quite the opinionated,political, pain-in-the-ass, in your face kinda girl that also loves baseball and music to a fault. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.--Albert Einstein-*

Posted on September 13, 2009, in CA state prisons, prison overcrowding. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thanks for posting this. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world — percentage-wise and we are THE most violent society among advanced democracies.

    We would rather spend tens of thosands to lock up the poor and ppl of color than to send them to school, or rehab. And it doesn't make us safer as a nation, studies show that mass incarceration actually destabilizes a society.

    If it were any other contry, the neocons would be calling the practice apartheid. That a radically conservative SCOTUS, one of the most “activist” in history, agreed with the lower copurt ruling goes to show how bad this issue is.

  2. Thanks for posting this. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world — percentage-wise and we are THE most violent society among advanced democracies. 
     
    We would rather spend tens of thosands to lock up the poor and ppl of color than to send them to school, or rehab. And it doesn't make us safer as a nation, studies show that mass incarceration actually destabilizes a society. 
     
    If it were any other contry, the neocons would be calling the practice apartheid. That a radically conservative SCOTUS, one of the most “activist” in history, agreed with the lower court ruling goes to show the magnitude of the problem.

  3. ” I thought we had more compassionate liberals here than most states.”

    I dont think California has been particularly liberal, except maybe on some social issues, since the Eighties (remember when you could go to school for free?).  What you have now is the culmination in the “starve the beast” experiment, combined with the vengeful idiocy of the Three Strikes mentallity.

  4. Angela Davis referred to it as “The Punishment Industry”- incarceration is big biz. I wonder how many of the prisoners are really small potatoes crimes…. they would be better off with mandatory community service than prison time? 
    Your neighbors to the north– in the county I live in,  in Oregon….. we have the opposite problem. Not enough funding for the jail- so they matrix out prisoners. 
    I mean like within hours of their incarceration- even those with violent crimes, and longer sentences. I can see them letting out petty crime people, but someone who just committed violent crimes, with weapons/family issues, children… have been released. 

    One such repeat offender served about 2 hours of a 5 year sentence, was released then raped a girl. Now the county is being sued for releasing the criminal who should have been in jail. 
    The County commissioners wanted to hold back money earmarked for jail to use it for something else. That town hall meeting was packed with person after person, begging & demanding they fund the jails. 

    They had the space, but had shut down wings because of funding. 

  5. FYI- Some weird Google Ad pop up appeared on your screen asking if I was aware of the Obama experiment….. it then links to a place to give your name & address, or you can skip it & go right to the republican page w Michael Steel on Faux snooze talking about the senior bill of rights bullshit scare tactic schpeal.  Just letting you know what Google ads is up to. Bastards!

  6. As long as I've been coming to Dusty's site, it's had conservative ads on it.  It's kind of wierd.

  7. Maybe if these thugs followed the law like Congress does, we wouldn't have this problem, pinkos.

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