Justices Ordered California To Reduce Amount Of Prisoners By 30,000

800px-A-Block_at_Alcatraz_(2206096229)

A Block in Alcatraz. Photo: Nonie

What do we do when prisons become overcrowded? According the new Supreme Court ruling (for California), we can release a few thousand early, transfer them to another state (make it some other place’s problem) or build bigger prisons. At no point was there any suggestion about how to reduce the amount of people sent to prisons (violent vs nonviolent offenses, helping crime-rich communities, etc.). The rule was a decision for immediate action of reducing prisoners in hope to better their standard of living. The New York Time reports:

Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.”

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. filed vigorous dissents. Justice Scalia called the order affirmed by the majority “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.” Justice Alito said “the majority is gambling with the safety of the people of California.”

[Continues at The New York Times]

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  • Hadrian999

    one can hope this will translate into the release and drop in future prosecutions of non violent drug offenders but i doubt that, it will probably mean slaps on the wrist for whit collar crime and financial crime 

    • quartz99

      My bet is they build more prisons instead. Building prisons provides jobs after all! Never mind that we have no way to pay for them or that the cost of taking care of the inmates is one of the biggest costs associated with a prison.

  • Hadrian999

    one can hope this will translate into the release and drop in future prosecutions of non violent drug offenders but i doubt that, it will probably mean slaps on the wrist for whit collar crime and financial crime 

  • MoralDrift

    we are a prison nation, been known about for years. 

  • Anonymous

    we are a prison nation, been known about for years. 

  • SF2K01

     Easy way to reduce the amount of prisoners: Legalize Marijuana already!

  • Anonymous

     Easy way to reduce the amount of prisoners: Legalize Marijuana already!

  • DeepCough

     Guess what happens when a nation has too many prisoners: it rhymes with Lollercaust.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      is it… rollercauster? sounds like fun!

  • DeepCough

     Guess what happens when a nation has too many prisoners: it rhymes with Lollercaust.

  • quartz99

    I’m coming to favor taking non-violent and white-collar crime and giving them a separate type of facility entirely. Something more like a larger and more secure halfway house, where they have to work off their prison sentences and live under house arrest until the sentence is up. Putting them in with violent offenders just makes it more likely that they’ll become violent offenders themselves, or that they’ll be the victim of the violent offenders while they’re on the inside. There are tons of charities that could benefit from a pool of low wage workers of varying skill levels, city beautification projects, community gardens to maintain…basically, jobs that can be done in the facility or under supervision that will benefit society as a whole. They can be paid a nominal amount for the work so that when they are released they’re not totally broke and having to commit more serious crimes just to survive, and those who had no job skills going in will come out with skills that make them employable so they don’t _have_ to resort to crime. That seems like a much better way to deal with criminals and crime. Make them give back to the world as much as they tried to take. If you make part of living in the facility be maintaining the facility and doing things like growing a large portion of the food that feeds the inmates, I think it could even be done for less money per inmate than the traditional prison.

    But that means realizing that not all criminals are the same or deserve the same treatment, and that runs counter to our society’s factory mentality where everything must be exactly the same and processed exactly the same, so I can’t say I ever expect anything like that to happen.

  • Anonymous

    I’m coming to favor taking non-violent and white-collar crime and giving them a separate type of facility entirely. Something more like a larger and more secure halfway house, where they have to work off their prison sentences and live under house arrest until the sentence is up. Putting them in with violent offenders just makes it more likely that they’ll become violent offenders themselves, or that they’ll be the victim of the violent offenders while they’re on the inside. There are tons of charities that could benefit from a pool of low wage workers of varying skill levels, city beautification projects, community gardens to maintain…basically, jobs that can be done in the facility or under supervision that will benefit society as a whole. They can be paid a nominal amount for the work so that when they are released they’re not totally broke and having to commit more serious crimes just to survive, and those who had no job skills going in will come out with skills that make them employable so they don’t _have_ to resort to crime. That seems like a much better way to deal with criminals and crime. Make them give back to the world as much as they tried to take. If you make part of living in the facility be maintaining the facility and doing things like growing a large portion of the food that feeds the inmates, I think it could even be done for less money per inmate than the traditional prison.

    But that means realizing that not all criminals are the same or deserve the same treatment, and that runs counter to our society’s factory mentality where everything must be exactly the same and processed exactly the same, so I can’t say I ever expect anything like that to happen.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    is it… rollercauster? sounds like fun!

  • Farthead

    Ummm…. stop hiring Marxist bankers and lawyers?

  • Farthead

    Ummm…. stop hiring Marxist bankers and lawyers?

  • Anonymous

    My bet is they build more prisons instead. Building prisons provides jobs after all! Never mind that we have no way to pay for them or that the cost of taking care of the inmates is one of the biggest costs associated with a prison.

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