After defying the federal courts for years over the deplorable conditions in their state prisons, California officials seem to be moving closer to offering an age-old American solution: they are planning to throw a lot of money at the problem and hope it goes away. There are two new financial proposals now in play. One is new and forward-looking. The other is old and tired. One could very well work to ease the state’s prison crisis. The other is based on the very premise that created the problem to begin with.
The federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have consistently ordered California to ease unconstitutional overcrowding in state penitentiaries by, among other things, granting early release to thousands of prisoners. State officials have implemented some of the reforms demanded of them by the judiciary. But California has refused to release most of those inmates—sending them instead to county jails (where they are often released early anyway) or simply stalling for time by trying to re-litigate the same Eighth Amendment issuesthey’ve already lost at every appellate level.
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- California prison mess results in false choices (watchdog.org)
- Jerry Brown, lawmakers reach accord in California prison crowding case (sacbee.com)
- Leaders seek to avoid early Calif. inmate releases (sacbee.com)