Chris Uggen's Blog: california prison overcrowding

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

california prison overcrowding

in response to lawsuits documenting inadequate services for physical and mental health in california prisons, federal judges have ordered creation of a three-judge panel, charged with reducing overcrowding in that state. i'm guessing that the three judges won't be operating out of the triple-bunk setup shown at left, in vacaville's solano prison gymnasium.

according to bjs sources, california is now home to 175,000 state prisoners, far more than any other state and only about 15,000 inmates fewer than the entire federal system. that said, the state's incarceration rate of 476 per 100,000 is still below the national average of 497. nevertheless, the system is expanding rapidly, growing by 8,583 inmates from midyear 2005 to midyear 2006. moreover, california has a higher than average rate of parolees and it returns these parolees to prison at a much higher than average rate, often for technical violations. though governor schwarzenegger just signed a $7.7 billion prison construction bill, it will be tough (and, some say, impossible) for the state to build its way out of these problems.


At 12:35 AM, Blogger Paul said...

The really amazing aspect of our exploding prison population is that no fiscal conservative is willing come forward and cry "stop the insanity!". When are we going to realize that incarceration is just like any other public good, no different than education, libraries, fire dept.s , parks,etc. the list goes on and on. The only difference is that prison is a real premium public good. We're locking up too many people for the wrong crimes for far too long.

No I'm not as some elitist liberal who thinks prisoners are just misunderstood under-privileged
victims . I know only too well that the earth will continue to spin quite nicely without a good number of these miscreants .

Somehow we've allowed our politicians to demagogue the issue of crime to to the point where no punishment seems to extreme.Beyond the occasional puff piece on Dateline or 60 minutes of punishment gone too far, we never stop to ask the question "at what cost?" What is the price of vengence? To society and the offender.

As you said there is no to build are way out this but serious reform won't come until we as tax payers are crushed by burden and the opportunity costs of our choices becomes all too clear.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Undercover said...

Overcrowding tells me that coddling you prisoners does NOT keep you from prison. Yes CODDLING! The picture of overcrowding posted on some blogs, looks more like the local rescue mission, except YOU get clean sheets and clean clothing! You have a TV set, books to read, a toilet, clean showers, weight lifting equipment, good food etc. That’s more then I have. So WHERE IS THE PUNISHMENT?

Alternatives to coddling: sleep on the ground (like I have to); no TV, radio, books, cigarettes, or wholesome food (I don't have those things, so why should YOU?); HARD WORK for everyone, every day, for at least 8 hours, even if it means breaking up rocks, or digging one hole to fill up another… just like every NORMAL person has to do on the outside (except you don’t deserve a paycheck). And you should be scrubbing the ceilings/walls/floors, bathrooms/showers, and washing your own clothes/dishes/towels/sheets too.

As a prisoner you have NO rights. You gave them up when you chose to do the crime. If prisons DID what they were set up to do, you would do everything possible to keep from having to go back! The prisons would NEVER be overcrowded. Instead, people clamor just to get IN, so they can have a warm bed, fresh hot food, clean clothes, a toilet/showers, and a TV!

As an alternative to MY alternative: you may like the idea Grace has for a prison town.


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