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Law & Imprisonment: Today it's California

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 07:20 am
Good Morning,

I came across a news article that brings up some worthy discussion fodder; namely, the subject of Prison Overcrowding. It's all over the news, but it seems California's hitting a break-point in this issue. Here's an excerpt from an article that summarizes it nicely [1]:[INDENT]"... In August, a three-judge panel, responding to lawsuits alleging prison overcrowding in the state, ordered California to reduce its prison population by 40,000 inmates over the next two years. State officials attempted to get a stay of the order while they appealed it to the Supreme Court, but that was rejected by the federal three-judge panel and the Supreme Court."
[/INDENT]The state's prison overcrowding is so much of an issue that failure to submit a plan that reaches the court's imposed reductions could result in legal action being taken against state officials - perhaps even the Governor himself. The problem stems from, "... lawsuits alleging that overcrowding has led to unconstitutional and inadequate levels of medical and mental health care" (emphasis added) [2]. On August 4th, a federal panel of judges ruled that because CA's prisons..[INDENT]"... packed to twice their designed capacity of 80,000, was the primary reason that prison health care violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment." [3]
[/INDENT]How did we get here?[INDENT] "Over the last 30 years, California's prisoner population expanded eightfold (from roughly 20,000 in the early 1970s to its current population of approximately 160,000 prisoners). Funding for prisoner services and programming did not remotely keep pace, which meant that many more prisoners had to make due on much less. In Texas, over just the brief five-year period between 1992 and 1997, the prisoner population more than doubled as nearly 70,000 additional prisoners were added to the prison rolls. Indeed, during the mid-1990s Texas achieved one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation, and the state now operates more than 80 prisons in order to accommodate the expansion in its already sizable prisoner population." [4]

"The California prison population pushed past 172,000 in 2006, even though it rarely exceeded 30,000 during most of the 20th century. In fact, as late as 1976, the inmate population was just above 20,000 (NCCD, 2008)." [5]
[/INDENT]As states continue to feel the crunch of the economic collapse, they're also hitting points of saturation that end up necessitating early release, house arrests or other means of relieving the crunch. How can we manage this?

DISCUSSION TEASERS

  • Does an alarmingly-bloating prison population reflect success/failure as a nation, in terms of managing crime and punishment? Is it indicative of our commitment to maintain order (either positively or negatively)?


  • If we're going to get tough on crime, are we willing to pay for it?


  • Is this Warehousing or Punishment? - Further, does it matter from an ethical standpoint?


  • Overcrowding is a generic term yet it nets a situation where insufficient facilities exist for medical care, dangerous guard/inmate ratios and basic living space.


  • Are we being too soft on them? Are we being too hard? [6]


  • Is there a relationship (causal or strictly correlation) between overcrowding conditions and our culture?


  • To what extent does this condition indicate the "war on drugs"? Is this part of the problem or the solution?

Thanks

~~~~~~~~~~~
Sources/Links[INDENT] 1: Wall Street Journal news article
2: Sacramento Bee (Local newspaper)
3: San Francisco Chronicle story
4: Report (PDF) from the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons
5: National Institute of Corrections 2008 Report: California's Prison Gulag: Getting the Genie Back in the Bottle (highly recommended PDF report)
6: The current standard, as I understand it, comes from the 1981 Supreme Court decision. A presentation on this outlines some of the issues surrounding that case at the Educational Resources Information Center, in this older document entitled: ED213793 - Prison Overcrowding: Legal Significance and Constitutional Implications
[/INDENT]
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,976 • Replies: 23
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Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 07:24 am
@Khethil,
Easy to solve this problem.

Legalize all drugs.
Legalize prostitution.
Legalize gambling.

And all those forty thousand will be released because of those types of charges.
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 07:28 am
@Khethil,
Build more prisons, make better reformation programmes and don't bust people who are only harming themselves give them help. It's simple
Thanks.
0 Replies
 
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 07:31 am
@Krumple,
Best reply all day. The drug enforcement strategy does not work and is almost criminal in it self.

We have just had a drug programme where the addicts are given their drugs under supervision and crime has dropped by 75%..simples..ya..

Trying making sex illegal and you are asking for corruption.

Is gambling illegal in California?:perplexed:
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 07:40 am
@xris,
xris;91829 wrote:
Best reply all day. The drug enforcement strategy does not work and is almost criminal in it self.

We have just had a drug programme where the addicts are given their drugs under supervision and crime has dropped by 75%..simples..ya..

Trying making sex illegal and you are asking for corruption.

Is gambling illegal in California?:perplexed:


Yes gambling is illegal in California. Unless you are Tribal.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 07:43 am
@Krumple,
What really struck me about this whole issue is the rate with which incarcerations have increased. This part...

Khethil;91822 wrote:
"The California prison population pushed past 172,000 in 2006, even though it rarely exceeded 30,000 during most of the 20th century...


Simply... amazing
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 08:08 am
@Khethil,
As the economy gets worse, crime tends to increase during those times.

In Seattle, car thefts and property crimes are no longer investigated by police. The police only seem to be interested in traffic crimes so they can produce ticket revenue for the state. They are quickly turning law enforcement into a "for profit" business. Cameras are popping up everywhere to catch people doing the dumbest things. There is no freedom left in America, it is just one big lie.

I saw a guy get arrested for calling a cop a lazy money sink. Yep freedom of speech violation. I saw a police officer smash a students camera that was trying to document a war protest. There was recently a guy that was put into a coma when a police officer tackled him thinking he was a suspect they were chasing, but he wasn't. The guy hit his head on a nearby wall as the cop wrestled him to the ground. The guy is still in bad shape but the cop isn't even being held liable for the guys injuries.

Bank robberies are on the rise too.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 03:26 pm
@Krumple,
Building more prisons will not help. When you build a prison you create a demand for inmates. Law enforcement has proven itself only too happy to meet that demand.

Does anyone recall Tulia, Texas?
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 04:41 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
The purpose of imprisoning, as I understand it is three-fold: [INDENT] 1) Remove dangerous people from the rest of society
2) Punish people who violate laws
3) Attempt to change such behavior by means of punishment
[/INDENT]I'd say, just from my layman's point of view, that only objective 1 is being met (and at that, only partially). I also noted in this information that the spike in prison population roughly correlated to the "war on drugs" which mandated prison terms for use, possession, distribution, etc. There's also the "3 strikes you're out" policy that many states have taken on that, again, mandates long prison terms for X or Y.

The suggestions posted thus far, I happen to agree with. I believe we prohibit far to many activities that aren't criminal by nature, unless they're made a crime. Even so - even if this is the case - we still have a growing problem that's getting much worse daily.

From a philosophical standpoint, I think it high time we go back to the beginning and re-think Crime and Punishment; how much does what we do, match the intent of the system?

I still need to clarify my thoughts on this - there isn't any apparent ready-solution.

Thanks
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Sep, 2009 05:06 pm
@Khethil,
An over-reaching solution? No, but there are a great many obvious things to do, right this second, which would dramatically improve conditions - namely, the decriminalization of marijuana and possession of minor amounts of cocaine (eight-ball and less, for example). That's, what?, 20-30% of our prison population?
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:13 am
@Khethil,
Ya know you all got to chill out and stop hurting each other than there wouldn't be so much people in prison, then maybe you can keep it contained but those who already have gone so far then maybe there is no turning back I think, wouldn't you think? Because reformation programmes, well do they really work because lots of other people get let out for murder, rape, killing children, (especially in the United Kingdom), and they keep doing it again and again to these poor kids so do these reformations really work? Well we should be taking a closer look at these programmes to free our kids from these monsters because they are not working, I mean they keep Charlie Bronson locked up, (go see my thread in the entertainment forum) and other murderers are free to walk, so where are we going worng please? Pray tell.
Thanks.

---------- Post added 09-20-2009 at 01:15 AM ----------

Although Charlie Bronson was a murderer he was no child rapist. So why dont we have a discussion about this? I mean why are they still letting them out and rape our women and children?
Thanks
And peace out.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:32 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;92102 wrote:
Although Charlie Bronson was a murderer he was no child rapist. So why dont we have a discussion about this? I mean why are they still letting them out and rape our women and children?
Thanks
And peace out.


We let them out because the prisons are full of victimless crime offenders. You should not be sitting in prison on a drug use conviction.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:41 am
@Khethil,
Yes we should allow those who only harm themselves get help and those who harm others locked up forever and throw away the key.
Thank You.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:44 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;92112 wrote:
Yes we should allow those who only harm themselves get help and those who harm others locked up forever and throw away the key.
Thank You.


Negative. If they harm someone and they serve their time, they should be let out accordingly. I think some people can reform and they should be given the chance to. I don't believe in undue sentences, because they can be abused.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:46 am
@Khethil,
Let out murders and rapists and peadophiles out why should they? They took a life and if they get let out and do it again then the reformation programmes aren't working now are they Krumple what makes you think they are please, pray tell.
Thanks.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:50 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;92117 wrote:
Let out murders and rapists and peadophiles out why should they? They took a life and if they get let out and do it again then the reformation programmes aren't working now are they Krumple what makes you think they are please, pray tell.
Thanks.


There have been people who have been convicted of murder, rape and pedophilia and have never re-offended. But under your definition they would never have had such an opportunity. What about some of those who were unjustly convicted of murder, rape or pedophilia? It has happened before, it is silly to say it will never happen again.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:56 am
@Khethil,
And there have been many more who do reoffend to rape again and again, I wonder where you get you're reading material from Krumple, please pray tell. Because I've got hundreds of books here that say other wise, try googling John Dunning, he tells of the poor mites/runaways who get picked up at train stations by predators and other horrors, would you like me link it to ya or would you rather get it yourself? Would you like me to link to you because I will.
Thanks.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 12:58 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;92126 wrote:
And there have been many more who do reoffend to rape again and again, I wonder where you get you're reading material from Krumple, please pray tell. Because I've got hundreds of books here that say other wise, try googling John Dunning, he tells of the poor mites/runaways who get picked up at train stations by predators and other horrors, would you like me link it to ya or would you rather get it yourself? Would you like me to link to you because I will.
Thanks.


No thanks. You are not understanding what I am saying. How about this situation?

What if an innocent person were to be locked away for ever for murder? Would that be fair?

I would much rather have a guilty person go free than an innocent person locked away for a crime they never committed.
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 01:11 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;92128 wrote:
No thanks. You are not understanding what I am saying. How about this situation?

What if an innocent person were to be locked away for ever for murder? Would that be fair?

I would much rather have a guilty person go free than an innocent person locked away for a crime they never committed.

But that's muder, how is that right Krumple, eh? Please pray tell.
Thanks.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 01:13 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;92136 wrote:
But that's muder, how is that right Krumple, eh? Please pray tell.
Thanks.


Are you even reading my posts? How is a person accused of murder who is innocent the same as being a murderer? They are not the same.

How about I accuse you of being a killer Caroline and sentence you to prison for the rest of your life. Would that be fair?
0 Replies
 
 

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