The three strikes law in California, often for minor non-violent crimes, has made prisons a huge burden on the budget. I don’t know the status of the marijuana proposition to make it legal (not likely) in California or any effort to scrap the three strikes your out law which does not allow any reasonable discretionary options by the judges.
Unfortunately a mandatory sentencing for repeat drunk drivers and sex crime thugs will cost us untold amounts of money because depressed poor people tend to drink more or use drugs to drown their sorrows. A rehabilitation program of how to cope would have been cheaper and more successful according to a high respected Rand Think Tank study.
It does not take into account that excess drinking is probably genetic so prison serves no purpose unless they are trained to stop drinking or taking drugs. It involves much willpower to overcome genetic predispositions.
It seems that we are still prone to follow ancient genetic predisposition to punish anyone who are a danger to our way of life in the most cruel way possible such as allowing people at their end of life with excruciating pain from untreatable cancer to end their life without pain. We seem to still live in our animal hides and act the same way we did in the past.
Don’t let the crazies control how we enjoy our lives.
Jim Kawakami, Nov 3, 2010, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com
Private Prisons Take a Huge Toll in Cost to States Unnecessary Imprisonments Ryan Chittum Columbia Journalism Review Nov 3, 2010, http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/captive_customers.php
NPR reveals a behind-the-scenes role by private prisons in Arizona’s tough immigration law
By Ryan Chittum
An NPR investigation goes right to the heart of the problem with private prisons: Putting a profit motive behind taking away people’s freedom.
It looked into Arizona’s powerful private-prison system and found that it helped boost the notoriously tough law the state passed against illegal immigration earlier this year.
The bill was written and named in D.C. by a small group of corporations and legislators that included representatives from Corrections Corporation of America (I love that name, by the way: it says a lot about your modern day United States in just four words), which is the biggest corporate-prison company. Conveniently enough, CCA “executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market,” according to company reports. CCA hired a bigtime lobbyist that week to pitch the bill, and the governor has two aides who used to lobby for the private-prison business. Plus, naturally:
At the state Capitol, campaign donations started to appear.
Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.
It’s insidious and it ought to make your skin crawl. These companies make their money by locking up people—the more the better. That’s their incentive. The state has put the profit motive, one of the most powerful forces we know, behind depriving people of liberty. If you think that’s overwrought or abstract, just look at what’s gone on here. … http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/captive_customers.php