Penal Trends: Strange Weather or Climate Change?

barbed wire

Jonathan Simon: Are recent changes in prison-growth patterns, judicial decisions, and electoral results variations within the norm, or evidence of a more profound change that could mark the end of our 40-year experiment with mass incarceration?

Sheila Kuehl on Prop 36: Three Strikes

california prison

rop 36 reduces the prison sentences for those who committed a non-violent, non-serious felony as their third strike. The new sentence would be twice the usual sentence for the crime they committed as a third strike.

California Progressives Take the Offensive

yes on 30

Randy Shaw: While progressives will be forced to invest major resources in defeating Prop 32, the other major ballot initiatives all put conservatives on the defensive and would further progressive change.

Winograd Wins Debate!

Nick Antocelli: Marcy Winograd was the clear and concise progressive who closed with great passion demonstrating the obvious differences in this campaign to succeed former congresswoman Jane Harman.

The Hypocrisy of Being Earnest

Tom Hall: Of course the whole lying about being divorced, and cheating on his wife and child positions him to be the latest Republican spokesmodel for family values.

Fast 4 Freedom

curb

Diane Lefer: AB900 was a huge victory for the prison-industrial complex. “People are making a profit out of putting people in cages,” said Geri Silva.

Tough on Crime Rhetoric Fails at the Polls

Kamala Harris, Joyce Dudley, Steve Cooley, Jill Ravitch, Paul Zellerbach (clockwise from left)

Natasha Minsker: For years, presenting oneself as a hammer battering crime was a requirement. This time around, a hard-line stance alone without a plan for effective and budget-conscious enforcement is the new electoral kiss of death. Californians are weary of budget cuts to valued social services and cautious about wasteful spending on ineffective or lower priority criminal justice policies, like the $1 billion over the next five years that will be poured into death penalty spending.

First Solve Prison Crisis, Then Fix California’s Budget

Gary Gilmore

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.

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