California Ordered to Release 10,000 Prison Inmates Because of Overcrowding
Two years ago a federal court ordered the State of California to release approximately 10,000 prison inmates, because the state’s overcrowded prisons violated the Constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”
And just two days ago the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn the lower court ruling. California now has until December 31st of this year to comply with the Court’s ruling by releasing eight percent of the state’s prison population — roughly 10,000 inmates.
Since a huge percentage of prisoners are doing time for non-violent drug offenses and other victimless “crimes,” it should be a no-brainer to find 10,000 inmates who could be released without jeopardizing “public safety.” In addition, California has the country’s strictest Three Strikes law; i.e. a person’s third felony is an automatic life sentence in prison. And make no mistake — a lot of Californians are doing life in prison because they shoplifted a candy bar (or a similarly “serious” felony) after already having two prior felony convictions.
In other words, finding 10,000 non-violent inmates who could be released without jeopardizing public safety should be about as difficult as finding a few stoners at a Phish concert.
And yet California’s “leaders” are pulling their hair out and tying themselves in knots, trying to figure out how in God’s name they can possibly release 10,000 inmates. This case is providing more ammunition for those who insist there’s “no difference” between the two parties. California’s entire government is controlled by Democrats. The Governor, both houses of the legislature and most — if not all — statewide elective offices are all Democratic.
I’m not quite there yet with the “no difference between the two parties” philosophy, but this case isn’t very encouraging. If a red state was facing this same “dilemma,” thousands of pundits would be ridiculing the “leaders” of that state. And rightly so.
Prisons are overflowing, dangerously crowded, and California has to release eight percent of the state’s prison population in order to comply with a Supreme Court ruling. Come on geniuses, this isn’t rocket science.
Either come up with the obvious solution (see above), or hold a massive press conference where every politician has to simultaneously pick up a microphone and go “DUUUHHH!!!”
Labels: California prison overcrowding