Christie Thompson: Prison officials have blamed crowding for contributing to “an increase in riots and disturbances.” And the more inmates there are, the more likely it is that prison officials will respond to violence with broad-brush security measures.
Dick Price: As California grapples with a prison system so broken that the U.S. Supreme Court has mandated reductions in the number of prisoners it holds, the three-part “Smart Justice: Rethinking Public Safety in California” discussion begun this past week is examining both consequences and possible solutions to the state’s mass incarceration mess.
Angola 3 News: Amnesty International considers that the conditions of isolation and other deprivations imposed on prisoners in California’s SHU units breach international standards on humane treatment
Jeanne Woodford: Support for Prop 34 continues to grow because people understand that California’s death penalty is broken beyond repair. California has only executed 1% of those sentenced to death in 34 years.
Sharon Kyle: Given the public’s short attention span, it’s no wonder juicy celebrity gossip and salacious headlines have come to dominate the “news”. This is great for those who don’t want us to pay attention.
Sharon Kyle: In a relatively short period of time, our nation has incarcerated enough people to create the second largest city in the United States. Releasing a few tens of thousand prisoners for overcrowding won’t change much or will it?
Bruce Reilly: I am not too troubled possible financial bankruptcy due to prisons, particularly child prisons. The possible moral bankruptcy, however, runs much deeper than any bottom line.
Sherwood Ross: If you want a glimpse into the soul of a nation, visit one of its prisons. California is no exception. It’s typical.
Sharon Kyle: Either large segments of the American population suddenly decided to engage in criminal activity or there were changes in sentencing law and prison policy that dramatically increased America’s prison population. Whatever the reason, states are spending more on prisons and less on higher education.
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.
Michelle Alexander: The skyrocketing incarceration rates of the past three decades have not affected all segments of California’s population equally. African Americans and Latinos have been hardest hit, thanks largely to the war on drugs — a war that has targeted people of color for drug crimes, even though studies show they are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites.
The professors will endure. But the students and their families are the true victims here. They’re getting ripped off. The quality of their education is suffering even while they go into debt.
The “Prison Population and Budget Reduction Package” proposed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is like a drunk person walking home from a bar – it knows where it wants to go but oftentimes you find it stumbling off the sidewalk or turning down the wrong street.