We suppose people in prison are consumers, too. The state of California’s prison system has just been declared unconstitutional due to severe overcrowding. CNN says “California must reduce the number of inmates in its overcrowded prison system by up to 40 percent to stop a constitutional violation of prisoners’ rights.” Raise your hand if you want to go home. [CNN]

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  1. Plates says:

    I have visions of the Governator terminating them.

  2. Bladefist says:

    too many people in prison for drug related offenses. Slap these people wrists and take a fat wad of their cash.

    • PunditGuy says:

      @Bladefist: And get them some treatment. It’s a health issue, not a criminal one.

      (I’m not talking about a junkie breaking into your car and stealing your CDs for drug cash. I’m talking possession for personal use.)

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Bladefist: Hey, look at that, I agree with you! Decriminalize pot, tax it, and non-violent drug possessors with other stuff should get treatment or a fine, not prison. Imprison the violent people and the dealers.

      • Yossarian says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: I wouldn’t stop with legalizing pot, though you have to start somewhere.

      • Ingram81 says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: Same with moonshine. Lets legalize it, cause I’m all about saving some money by making my own then going to the liquor store.
        On another note, I don’t think other drugs, say heroin, cocaine, etc. are drugs that you want people to have, so prison time for dealing is fitting.
        The problem with imprisoning the violent people is that they have already hurt/killed someone. Drugs generally cause people to not think rationally and are willing to harm people to feed their habit.

        • Illusio26 says:

          @Ingram81: You could say the same thing about alcohol. How many domestic abuse cases are because someone came home drunk and beat someone down? How many people are killed each year by drunk drivers.

          I’d rather have potheads on the streets then drunks. Stoned people usually just stay home and eat Cheetos. Drunks cause trouble.

        • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

          @Bladefist: I aggree outlaw smoking* and grandfather marajuana rights to the tobacco companies.

          The public would pay $5 for weed for what they pay $10 now and everyone would make a killing…except for the drug dealers. I’d take it a step further and legalize heroin and cocain. Then it can be controlled. Crime would plummet.

          The funny thing is that that drug dealers and the right wing would totally be lobbying against that ever happening.

          I’m a smoker, but there is nothing but severe downside to smoking. A lot of smokers would quit if they made it illigal, it’s juts too easy to go buy smokes as it is and this increasing the price thing really isnt working.

          • Bladefist says:

            @Wormfather is Wormfather: The conservative view point on drugs is very hypocritical.

            We’re all about freedom and rights, then we say, well, you cant put drugs into your own body. That’s hypocritical, I recognize that.

            Some of you will be shocked by that statement, but I’ve been telling you all along I’m very objective.

            • Tmoney02 says:

              @Bladefist: The conservative view point on drugs is very hypocritical. We’re all about freedom and rights, then we say, well, you cant put drugs into your own body.

              Just curious if have the same view regarding assisted suicide and abortion, two other issues dealing purely with your own body but yet the government interferes (or could at somepoint).

              • Bladefist says:

                @Tmoney02: Assisted suicide, yes.

                Abortion, no. Most conservatives who are pro-life are so for religious reasons. Typically in peoples lives, religious beliefs trump political, worldly beliefs.

                Although I also believe abortion should be dealt with on a state level, or community level. Not on a national level. It’s a complex debate.

                But it’s probably the only form of hyprocracy that makes sense to me to be hypocritical.

                • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

                  @Bladefist: If you want to commit suicide that’s your choice, I thinks.

                  Abortion is tricky. I aggree with the state level approach. But my belive was always this.

                  “I belive that it is a woman’s choice, but the woman I marry will be pro-life, at least for her self”

              • jimconsumer says:

                @Tmoney02: I am a conservative, but I am not a Republican. I’m more Libertarian, if anything, though I call myself an independent because I don’t subscribe to any party system. I want small government, fewer taxes, and I am pro-personal-freedom. Drugs should be legal. Assisted suicide should be legal. I don’t care what two men do in the privacy of their own home, etc.

                Abortion, however, is not an issue dealing “purely with your own body.” The last time I checked, abortion also involves the body of another human being. I don’t understand why anybody would choose abortion. There are plenty of adoption groups who will pay for the entirely of a woman’s medical care throughout the pregnancy and birth and will give the baby to a loving family. What sane person would choose to take the life of that baby instead of taking advantage of a good adoption program?

                I don’t care what a woman does with her body – it’s the body of the child she is carrying that I’m concerned with.

                • trujunglist says:

                  @jimconsumer:

                  And then we get into the question of what is a body, when does the “child” become a child, etc. Is it a human being? Yes, but also no.
                  What sane person would choose taking the “life” of a “baby?” How about someone that doesn’t want to have the baby for any reason at all? Seems like a good enough reason to me, because after all, it’s their body; they’re gonna go through the pain, not me. How about the aftermath of having a kid but not actually having a kid? There are plenty of reasons that I haven’t mentioned that are also valid, like rape.

          • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

            @Wormfather is Wormfather: i’d havea very hard time justifying legalization of marijuana and criminalization of tobacco

        • failurate says:

          @Ingram81: I think moonshine might fail the cost/benefit equation. The cost of the still, fuel, and the mash/beer needed to make homemade booze are trumped by the super low cost of mass producers like McCormicks, Flieshmens, and Gibsons.
          And the end results of homemade hard alcohol? Well, it usually sucks.

      • kityglitr says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: Much as I agree with the Feds decriminalizing pot and taxing it, I’m from Humboldt County, and if it happens, our micro economy will go bust. We get 500 million dollars of tax free money pumped into our county by pot growers, dealers, and the stuff they buy.

      • varro says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: If they legalized pot, maybe everyone’s *taxes would go down* and the state would be able to send actual money to taxpayers as refunds instead of the IOUs they’re sending.

        Conservatives would whine and cry, but I thought they didn’t like taxes?

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: tax it, definitely
        but if they really think it’s a safety issue, they need to regulate it as well. (that, of course, would be costly, and be paid for by pot taxes. so no real new income for the state as a whole)

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      @Bladefist: What will probably happen is something close to this. Sort non-violent vs. violent, then sort by percentage of time served, then sort by some other criteria, such as the degree of felony/misdemeanor the inmates were convicted of. Take the final list to the parole board for approval.

      Kentucky tried something like this a number of years ago. Unfortunately the governor at the time was a Democrat, and the usual right-wing monkeys started screeching bloody murder. Schwarzenegger might actually be able to pull this off.

    • ARP says:

      @Bladefist: Wow, I think this the 2nd time ever that I’ve agreed with you. I don’t think it should be legalized immediately, but decriminalized. Get caught with weed, pay a $50 ticket. Revenue stream and then we can work towards legalization.

    • KCChiefsFan says:

      @Bladefist:

      I have a feeling that their solution is going to be private prisons, and not letting drug dealers and users go. I hope so anyway, because I have friends in Cali, and I know that they aren’t looking forward to a sudden influx of released drug dealers and drug users into their community.

      (I’ve seen people ruin their lives over pot, the internet logic of “it’s not that bad” doesn’t work on me. I’m all for making it a ticket for possession though. Yes, I realize that unlike crack and 99 other drugs, it’s more of a “fine in moderation” type of thing, but considering that people are dumb, and don’t know the meaning of moderation, I don’t think it should ever be legal for non-medical purposes)

      • jimconsumer says:

        @KCChiefsFan: By your logic we should outlaw alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, fast food, desserts, candy, and anything else that’s potentially harmful and some people don’t know how to use in moderation. Right? I mean, if only Ben & Jerry’s was illegal, then people wouldn’t get fat. Right?

        Here’s a hint: Who cares if someone ruins their life smoking too much pot? Who are YOU to decide their life is “ruined”, anyway? Maybe they ENJOY that life. Just because you want to make something of yourself and have nice things and be successful doesn’t mean everyone else has to. Some people are content to deliver pizzas the rest of their life, live in run down slum housing and smoke pot every night. As long as they aren’t robbing you to support their habit or collecting welfare, what business is it of yours?

  3. ApologeticBale_GitEmSteveDave says:

    How long till Joe Arpaio offers to put up some more tents and dye some more underwear, and will take these prisoners off CA’s hands?

    Anyone know if this was the 9th Circus’s Court decision?

  4. oneandone says:

    They’ve also been in violation of several federal drinking water standards in at least 2 prisons for at least 3 years. One has illegal levels of arsenic, one has illegal levels of nitrates.

    [www.latimes.com]

    In some cases, the wardens and staff were not informed of the contamination (the arsenic is from natural sources in the local geology; nitrates from fertilizer runoff).

    The arsenic prison was built in an attempt to relieve the overcrowding that is now, apparently, unconstitutional. So double fail for CA….

    • utensil42 says:

      @oneandone: Triple fail actually. About two years ago our prison health care was also deemed unconstitutional and is now being completely revamped by an independent federal agent.

    • wardawg says:

      @oneandone:

      Arsenic + prisoners = less prisoners = win

      Just saying…

      • oneandone says:

        @wardawg: Not quite. Arsenic + prisoners = prisoners with cancer = increased state medical expenses = not a win. And that’s not including federal fines & any potential civil suits.

        Also, the staff was likely affected, so there’s their medical expenses & potential for litigation.

    • the lesser of two weevils says:

      @oneandone: What the hell is it with California and their water? They should make Erin Brockovitch Water Czar. At least it would keep her from bringing a class action suit.

  5. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Wait…are we saying that prisoners are consumers, and the product is their prison stay?

  6. projoe1979 says:

    Failed state.

  7. zigziggityzoo says:

    They should give every prisoner with a life sentence to have a buyout plan!

    Give them the option of the death penalty. Is it so inhumane if they get to choose?

  8. dwhuntley says:

    40%!!!!!!!! If you don’t own a gun, now’s a pretty good time to buy one.

  9. Corporate_guy says:

    It’s only a threat to public safety because they took non violent drug users and locked them up with murderers and rapists.

    There is one upside, California will probably have to decriminalize most drug use to prevent having them sent to prison. Which also then turns busting drug offenders into a profitable business instead of a complete waste of money.

    • dwhuntley says:

      @Corporate_guy: It might help with the budget if they tax it. I’m not sure that’s the right way to go though. I can only imagine the kind of invasion from the scum of the Earth it would bring.

    • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

      @Corporate_guy: Yeah, when you lock up an 18 year old who stole a car and he’s raped and forced to do gang bidding so that he can survive his 24 month streatch.

      I’m not sure how he comes out, but I’m pretty sure rehabilitated isnt the word I’d use.

  10. jaydez says:

    Criminal should have no constitutional rights. They comitted a crime and have to pay for it. Jail should NOT be a happy place; it should be so misserable they never want to go back.

    I say take away the beds, and the tvs, and the AC and let them sleep on a cold wet cement floor.

    • rockasocky says:

      @jaydez: Wow, and I bet you’re the same kind of person who, hypocritically, thinks China is evil.

      • jaydez says:

        @rockasocky:

        no, I’m fine with China as long as they monitor their exports and work to fix their problems.

        Though, I am a huge fan of Sheriff Joe in AZ

        • varro says:

          @jaydez: Sheriff Joe – crook. I’d love to see him serve time in his own jail for the kickbacks he’s probably taking….he’s a real-life parody of the corrupt Southern sheriffs in movies and TV shows.

      • LJKelley says:

        @rockasocky: There is quite a difference between China & America. You know like the fact we have freedom of speech, more than one political party, generally the lack of political prisoners. And America doesn’t censor your internet, we can join the North Korean Friendship Association if we wish or read the DPRK News website if we wish. My dad works in China and hates how oppresive it is, oh well he will be retiring soon.

        While I think Jails should still be decent as people are innoncent until proven guilty, once they go to prison I don’t think they should have any luxuries like TV. But then I guess on the other hand, I don’t want non-violent non-stealing drug users in there either.

        • varro says:

          @LJKelley: Agreed, although prison guards would be the first people to defend giving TV to prisoners – it pacifies them.

          It can also be used for discipline – go into the hole, and they show you an endless loop of Snuggie, ShamWow, Cash4Gold, and Enzyte commercials.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      @jaydez: Judge Dredd? Is that you? It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered someone who thinks that all crime is the same.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @jaydez: I agree, if you compare our prisons to other countries’, I think we lavish our prisoners with too much luxury. My friend visits prisoners, and he says they are places people WANT to go back to after getting out.

      I don’t think we should have French prisons, but our system is certainly not acceptable and eats too many tax dollars.

      • utensil42 says:

        @GuinevereRucker: You’ve hit the issue and don’t even realize it. Yes, many of them want to go back after release, but it isn’t because prison is awesome. It’s because after release, they have no way to start their lives over and often fall back into their old lifestyles. Put more money toward education, training, and rehabilitation in general and our prison population would drop because recidivism would be MUCH lower.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @utensil42: The rate of recidivism, especially among gang members, is outrageous. In many gangs, jail is seen as a reward because it means you did something massive to get there. And once you’re there, you become part of the hierarchy, and you can move up the ladder because you’re surrounded by people who are also in there because they did something extremely bad.

          What happens once you get out? You embrace your new reputation and repeat your actions.

          Focus should be placed on reducing the interactions inmates of the same or opposing gangs have with each other inside the prison system. Reduce interaction, bar visitors for these gang members because it’s naive to think they aren’t trying to run things or communicate from the inside, and work on educating offenders on their opportunities outside the gang. This is especially important for young offenders.

          • utensil42 says:

            @pecan pi: Could not agree more. I’ve been working for the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation for about 2 years now on issues of recidivism, rehabilitation, and prison reform. The Dept. is well aware of all of these issues and is really trying to reform the system, there’s just no money and some of this is expensive. Plus, where there is money, we’ve run into roadblocks from conservative state leaders who don’t care much about rehabilitating inmates.

            • the lesser of two weevils says:

              @utensil42: That’s depressing. Considering how much it affects communities and public safety more people should care about prison reform. Unfortunately for most people prison is one of those places where “bad people are out of sight, out of mind,” so to speak. I can only hope one day reform gets the consideration it deserves.

    • Illusio26 says:

      @jaydez: There is a saying that goes something like “You can judge a society by how they treat their criminals”. I agree that the prisons shouldn’t have hbo and xboxs. But they deserve basic human rights. A bed to sleep on, a pot to piss in.

    • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

      @jaydez: The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons -Dostoyevsky

      No constitutional rights for prisoners?!?!?!? Listen, I’m a republican but that’s just bull.

      Those who have been convicted of crimes are to be seperated from the rest of socety for the purpose of resitution, protect society and to rehabilite the inmate. Not to treat them like dogs for a few years and then they’ll be to scared to come back.

      I bet you even think the system is fair and equitable.

    • dave23 says:

      @jaydez: I have a friend who spent 15 days in jail for driving 79 in a 55. Admittedly, it was not his first speeding ticket, but he has never been in an accident. Should he have the same treatment as a child molester or a murderer?

    • Aladdyn says:

      @jaydez: You have to keep in mind that these are people who you will be dealing with once they get out of prison. I would rather have a rehabilitated neighbor then someone whos gone pyscho from years of deprivation.

    • acknight says:

      @jaydez: Good thing the Constitution disagrees with you.

  11. Justin Linett says:

    I say they execute the worst 40% (violent crime offenders please) , that will be a good deterrent as well.

  12. backbroken says:

    Oh dear god! How will our communities survive a mass release of marijuana smokers and 3 strikes shoplifters???? Won’t anyone think of the children????

    Maybe releasing the pot smokers from prison could be pitched as economic stimulus for the snack food industry?

    • Yossarian says:

      @backbroken: What’s your alternative for punishing people who repeatedly steal? Fines? Local incarceration? Harsh language?

      • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

        @Yossarian:

        repeated theft =/= repeated violent crimes

        • Yossarian says:

          @Wormfather is Wormfather: Where did I say they were equal? I have no idea what your point is.

          • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

            @Yossarian: Shoplifters doing life because of 3 strikes.

            3 strikes should really be for violet offenders, or even violent ones.

            • Yossarian says:

              @Wormfather is Wormfather: How many three-time felony shoplifters are in California prisons?

              Residential burglary isn’t violent, until it is. How many times do you let someone burglarize homes before there is violence? “Gee, ma’am, I’m sorry your husband is dead, but this guy’s prior break-ins went so smoothly.”

              What Madoff did wasn’t violent. Do you believe he should ever walk free again?

              • jamar0303 says:

                @Yossarian: I’d qualify Madoff’s actions as violent- it did lead to multiple people dying, after all.

              • warf0x0r says:

                @Yossarian: By your logic, then someone isn’t a terrorist until they are… MY GOD EVERYONE COULD POTENTIALLY BE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING… try to stay calm… I have to find a place to hide… Yossarian can I come to your house? Wait… I can’t trust you… why don’t you come over here, yes that’s it >:)

                Basically I find it hard to judge someone on their criminal intent before they’ve ever committed a crime… unless your Tom Cruise in Future DC, but if there is no magnetic cars it doesn’t count.

      • pallendo says:

        @Yossarian: Your sarcasm, it is borked.

  13. your new nemesis says:

    I’m under the impression that they will release repeat non-violent larceny offenders and small time drug users. They will release the thieves becasue theft is good for the economy if you have to go and buy everything you already own again. And if its insurance paying for it, like a home burglary or something, then you get an upgrade. Also, i bet the sale of personal use handguns goes up as well, so Cali’s economy could use a drug fueled theft upsurge to help local business’. Its like a bailout, only less dangerous.

  14. Meathamper says:

    They should turn the island of Saipan into one big jail. Better than a bunch of brothels for Tom DeLay.

  15. poolejc says:

    If you let potheads off with a fine, I woould say 90% of them would not pay. Then what are you going to do? fine them again? Which they will not pay or send them to jail which puts us back to square one.

    • ARP says:

      @poolejc: Their are other options: You can suspend their license, make them ineligible for state aid, garnish wages, pull owed money from tax returns. etc.

      If they still aren’t paying or they’re doing all this illegal stuff to avoid payment, then you know you’ve got a bad apple on your hand.

  16. pixiegirl1 says:

    The 3 strikes law seemed like a good idea at the time . . . yeah they might what to review that now with such severe overcrowding in their prisons.

  17. J.Heck says:

    Here in Ohio, they ARE consumers. They can place orders for things too, and if they are allowed jobs, they pay, or they can opt to have the bills forwarded on to their families to pay for them once the family consents.

    See: [www.ohiopackages.com]