California given strict deadline to reduce prison population


There must be 37,000 fewer inmates by June 2013, starting with a reduction of 14,400 by the end of this year, three-judge panel says.

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times

July 1, 2011

A three-judge court that has ordered California to reduce its prison population issued strict deadlines Thursday for what will amount to a reduction of 37,000 inmates in two years.

The special panel of federal judges set June 27, 2013, as the deadline for compliance, paying little heed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s call for flexibility. In May, the high court cited California’s cash crisis in suggesting that officials might need more time to resolve the overcrowding problem.

The three-judge court ruled in August 2009 that conditions in state prisons violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The inmate population — then exceeding 160,000 — was twice the number for which the state’s 33 prisons were built, the court said, and the crowding resulted in deprivation of medical and mental health care for many inmates.

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2 thoughts on “California given strict deadline to reduce prison population

  1. John your solutions are barbaric and are not feasible ‘solutions’ at all. Obviously your not too aware of CA problems- they have intact CA prison industries which contracts through the state for good they manufacture-nothing is outsourced. Lets get some credible information and just maybe you might be taken seriously…..

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  2. CALIFORNIA PRISON CRISIS CURE

    Profound reforms most generally follow disasters, major crises and first-class fiascos. California is therefore ready to solve its prison crisis with the following reforms:

    1. With regard to manufactured goods now made exclusively in foreign countries: (a) repeal the federal statutes that killed prison industries (Hawes-Cooper Act of 1929, Ashurst-Sumners Act of 1935, Walsh-Healey Act of 1936) and any state statutes that bar the sale or transportation of prison-made goods, (b) exempt and provide immunity for prison industries and employers from and against all labor and employment laws, wage & hour requirements, ADA, FMLA, discrimination laws, and all other worker protections; except OSHA should remain in full force and effect, (c) encourage secure private work communities and workhouses run by private businesses and religious organizations providing spiritual support, hiring prisoners to work under wages, hours and conditions of employment to be freely negotiated and agreed upon in writing, (d) make appropriate deductions from prisoners’ earnings for crime victim restitution, child support, court costs and costs of incarceration.

    2. Enact laws providing for judicial corporal punishment in lieu of incarceration, particularly for non-violent drug-related offenses and crimes carrying sentences of less than 5 or 10 years; with the following safeguards:

    (a) Administer corporal punishment only for offenses carrying potential sentences of confinement or incarceration. Allow incarcerated offenders the option of taking their sentences as corporal punishment after some period of incarceration. A court could enter alternative sentences in its discretion, using all available punishment options and sequences. One of the purposes of re-introducing corporal punishment is to reduce incarceration with community corrections. Corporal punishment would take place in the community.

    (b) Take into consideration the age, weight, health, physical condition and gender of the defendant in order to determine the offender’s ability to take corporal punishment. A formula or sentencing guideline could take account of these factors. Medical personnel could monitor the administration of punishment.

    (c) Administer corporal punishment only pursuant to a final judgment entered by a court of law, after a fair trial or plea agreement, and only in the discretion of the sentencing judge.

    (d) Impose corporal punishment sentences within a pre-determined sentencing schedule using standardized instruments, force and procedures.

    (e) Conduct corporal punishment in public, supervised by the judge who sentenced the defendant, and videotape it for a public record.

    (f) After corporal punishment, the convict should work full-time, go to school full-time, or participate in substance abuse rehabilitation. Required work would include employment in a work community or workhouse, at a job offered by the private sector, at a job provided by the public sector, as a fulltime volunteer, or as otherwise ordered by the court. Some juveniles from bad homes would need to recover in a better moral and physical environment.

    3. Enact laws providing for the placement of color-coded metallic or plastic collars on convicted felons or juvenile offenders in lieu of incarceration. Variations in weight, comfort, composition and color are based upon the gravity, type and time of the offense and current behavior. Shades of red = violent crimes, shades of green = property crimes, shades of yellow = sex crimes. After entry of a judgment by a court, allow probation officers and school officials to adjust the collars, within limits set by the judgment or statute, up or down depending upon the current behavior of the offender.

    John Dewar Gleissner, author of “Prison & Slavery – A Surprising Comparison” & host of Incarceration Reform weblog

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