winstonsmith 
Member since Nov 16, 2009


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Re: “Governor Proposes to Cut Prison Population by 40,000

How did it get so bad? I think a reasonable correlation is the power of the employee unions such as CCPOA and the political influence of corporate prison interests both of which are totally committed to making sure that the prison system grows. The prisons are supposed to be run by the State but everyone knows the prison guard’s Union calls the shots. Collecting almost $2 million, a month from its members makes it a powerful entity and a major donor to candidates who do their bidding, keeping prisons full and profitable. They do this by supporting legislators who they can count on to criminalize more and more behavior and increase the existing sentences for laws already on the books and by direct donations to every group that wants to throw another 'law and order' initiative on a public that obviously does not read before they vote. Their mission: Keep as many as they can cram in locked up for as long as possible, so inept prison employees keep making $150,000 a year to babysit pot smokers.
It is not only the CCPOA that want jails full; it's the companies contracting slave labor from them. For pennies a day inmates are forced into manufacturing everything from our clothing to computers. Jobs that used to be filled by us. Too bad California voters never bother to question anything, buying into the propaganda who ever talks loudest is right. There are currently many laws that call for mandatory first offense prison sentences. Offenders are offered a plea agreement (the courts could never handle it if all defendants elected to go to trial) and their choice is take the plea agreement or take it to trial, but, if they elect trial and found guilty the will receive the highest sentence possible. Most defendants (guilty or not) go for the plea agreement. Judges no longer have any discretion in sentencing ... it’s the D.A.'s call and a notch in their conviction scorecard.

California now has the biggest prison system in the world, a system 40 percent bigger than the Federal Bureau of prisons. The state holds more inmates in its jails and prisons than do France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined. At the current rate of expansion, assuming they again ignore a court order that forces release of prisoners, it will run out of room in a very short time. To remain at double capacity the state will need to open at least one new prison a year, every year. This would just maintain the current standards, not improve them. It doesn’t take a genius to see the problem here, but then California isn’t big on education…

Posted by winston smith on 11/16/2009 at 2:30 PM

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