2007/05/22

Incarceration Nation Part 4 - California Budget Priorities

Based on current budget projections, California's spending on its prisons will overtake its spending on public universities within 5 years. No state of our size, anywhere in the nation, comes close to this level of spending on prisons. Some say it's the inefficient allocation of funds, high costs in the prison system, or years of neglect by the Department of Corrections. But one stark fact remains: If this state weren't rocketing toward a prison population that includes 1 in every 150 residents, we wouldn't have this problem.

Though we could say that our budget priorities are screwed up--I mean...who wants to admit that locking people up is more important than educating them--when you're spending $10B on your prisons, you've got to take the money from somewhere...everywhere.

Part 3 <<  Incarceration Nation

17 Comments:

I don't suppose that these two links would have anything to do with any overall plan to create a full-blown Police State in the US?

Bush Plans Dictatorship
Next President will choose two or three Supreme Court Justices

OK,I DO so suppose. I wouldn't put anything past the Chimperor at this point.
maybe they can cut costs by letting go inmates that pass the prerequisite of flashing the "westtt siiiide" symbol no matter what offense, as long as they don't have three strikes. that makes sense.
Wow, 1 in every 150 and $10B. That's an eyeopener for sure. Perhaps more home monitoring and less incarceration.. when at all possible.
SadButTrue... I've commented on the Continuity Act on a number of blogs. Though it's very objectionable, it isn't more objectionable than 750 signing statements or legislation that precludes the Supreme Court from ruling on Constitutional issues. These are bringing all power within the sphere of the executive right now.

RAFFI... Think I missed a memo. Please elaborate.

Suzie-Q... Or we could just get rid of all the drug offenses, starting with pot. Drug related incarceration is a large fraction of the problem.
Why send kids to college when we can incarcerate them...we know that works to rehabilitate them.
This is wrong, just wrong. How in the world do we get our priorities this skewed?
The day after tomorrow, I will be spending the day in a penitentiary working with prisoners to help then transition to life after their release. Unless we shift the emphasis of justice in this country from retribution to restoration, things will just get worse. For the most part, rehabilitative services have been cut way back except for the work done by prisoners and volunteers, and we volunteers are far too few.
Well, there is always the Pay as you incarcerate option. I mean, you get shampoo and everything.
WS... See TomCat's comment below. It's very illuminating.

Tom, Mary... I guess the observation is that we're spending all our money on simple warehousing of prisoners, and 40,000 new prison spaces seems to support that argument. There are some states that don't even have 40K spaces.
Diva... I remember seeing your link on this, and thanks for the reminder. Options are a good start, though I'm not so sure on the payment deal. Personally, though, I'd like to just see less incarceration--none for non-violent, first time offenders. Stuff like that.
Ah, you West Coast lefties are only beating us because Texas steadfastly refuses to actually pay for the prisons to hold all the people we are packing away--until ordered to by a Federal judge, that is. Which is pretty much how any kind of social justic has come to Texas in, oh, say, the last 35 years.
kvatch, the"W" to clarify. what i was eluding to was the war against drugs and mandatory minimum prison sentences for non-violent felony drug offenders, offenders who plug-up the prison system. some need prison, some are screwed (in all respects of the word).
LC... Now don't go trying to explain it away. California's prison system is designed for only half of the 173K that we incarcerate. In addition, Texas still has the distinction of offing their prisoners at a rate that would make Soviet Russia look like a pack of amateurs.

RAFFI... Got it. Thanks for the clarification.
Hello, Kvatch.
I did a post long ago that dealt with the issue of the "peeping-tom society," where people fear their neighbors and seek to control them.

Though not fully fleshed out in that post, there was the underlying concept of "criminality."
To say that a thing is "criminal" is the strongest denunciation that we have as a society. And we use that denunciation quite recklessly.
At least a portion of this phenomenon is derived from the modern mindset that the thing which goes undenounced is, by default, actively advocated.
Hot rhetoric flows easily, but can't make water for the mule.
ProgressiveT... I sort of touched that point also in the second installment of this series. But it seems to me that our puritanical streak is getting the better of us.

"...can't make water for the mule,"? :-) I always heard it as, "...but it don't feed the bulldog."
god! that graphic is sooooooooooooo depressing :(
Denis... You know it. California's spending 3 times what Texas is spending. It's unreal!

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