Anthony Portantino: Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced legislation that shifts the prison reform debate from an early release and sentencing reform emphasis to stopping the revolving door at California’s prisons.
Diane Lefer: Though the Supreme Court ruled on May 17 in Graham v. Florida that juveniles must not be sentenced to life without parole for any crime short of homicide, California continues to impose sentences so extreme they are the effective equivalent of life without the possibility of parole.
Diane Lefer: We are all shamed, but it’s time to call out the people who belong on the roll call of shame, the Assembly members who so fear being called soft on crime that they couldn’t bring themselves to do the right and rational thing.
Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole? Yes, it happens in the United States. Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative discusses children in the justice system
Carl Matthes: As you may remember, 21 year-old Matthew was pistol-whipped, bludgeoned and lashed to a fence post, just off an isolated rural road, during one of Wyoming’s cold, lonely October nights. He was left for dead by his killers. Eighteen hours later Matthew was discovered still alive, but in a coma. “I mistook him for a scarecrow,” said 18 year-old Aaron Kreifels. Five days later he died. In 1998 America, Matthew was just one of 33 anti-gay murders.
Dick Price: To get a handle on the damage California’s current approach to incarceration is having on its citizens, consider this: In a recent 23-year period, California erected 23 prisons—one a year, each costing roughly $100 million dollars annually to operate, with both Democratic and Republican governors occupying the statehouse—at the same time that it added just one campus to its vaunted university system, UC Merced.
Capital Punishment is Too Expensive California remains on track to spend over $1 billion on the death penalty in the next five years, in the midst of the worst financial crisis in nearly a century. Incredibly, even as state officials announce that they must fill a deficit of $21.3 billion this year, and contemplate drastic [...]
At its worst, America’s criminal justice system represents the place where racism, greed and corruption intersect. At its best, it is inherently flawed, unjust, and unreliable, and little better than its worst. The engine that drives this injustice system is known as the prison industrial complex. It is the theater in which the nation’s foremost [...]
Prison Budget Expands, Education Budget Cut While the Governor and legislature propose massive cuts to education and 2,000 public works projects are on hold, a bill to propel a $12 billion prison construction project was sent to Governor Schwarzeneggar. This bill is designed to fix problems with AB900, the largest prison construction plan in history. [...]