Monday, May 23, 2011

That Decision To Uphold Release of Prisoners in California

I am trying hard not to agree with the decision.  The fact is that California's prisons are severely overcrowded, and there are consequences that arguably rise to the standard of cruel and unusual punishment.  California's legislature isn't prepared to enforce laws against illegal aliens (who are part of the reason the prisons are at 200% of capacity); isn't going to execute enough criminals to make any real dent in the population; and isn't prepared to engage in the sort of cultural imperialism that would be necessary to stop creating more criminals.

If you live in California, and you do not already have a gun, get one now.  I am sure that many of those who are about to be released are perfectly fine young men who made little tiny mistakes that they will never repeat again.  They will be easy to identify: they are the short ones wearing shamrocks and speaking with an Irish brogue, also known as leprechauns.

I am no bleeding heart liberal.  Prison is not summer camp.  But there are circumstances that are really inexcusable:
Mentally ill prisoners are housed in administrative segregation while awaiting transfer to scarce mental health treatment bedsfor appropriate care. One correctional officer indicated that he had kept mentally ill prisoners in segregation for “‘6 months or more.’” App. 594. Other prisoners awaiting care are held in tiny, phone-booth sized cages. The record documents instances of prisoners committing suicide while awaiting treatment.
Administrative segregation: that's solitary, for those of you who don't speak prison.  There are medical facilities that are so overcrowded and overbusy that they are not cleaning examining tables after prisoners with infectious diseases have been on them.  Make sure you look at the pictures in Appendix A.

And California had years to fix this.  But why should they?  The legislature is too busy passing gun control laws, arguing about whether the schools should be teaching about the contributions of gay and transgendered people to history, and similar nonsense.

Justices Alito and Scalia both wrote very sensible dissents, and there is some merit to their concerns.  But it does seem as though the only way to get the California legislature to behave like adults is to scare the wits out of the electorate.  Who knows?  Maybe they can provide some adult supervision to the morons on Sacramento.

1 comment:

Andy in San Diego and Elsewhere said...

The biggest problem is that the state of CA spends twice per prisoner than the national average. All of this excessive spending goes directly into the pockets of the unionized prison guards. The legislature is little more than a money-laundering operation, taking $ from the taxpayers and giving it to the guards (who in turn pay dues to the union that keep the legislators in office). Any real attempts to reform spending would alienate the union...