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Supreme Court: California prison overcrowding violates 8th Amendment

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, May 23, 2011.

  1. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    This country has something like 2 million people in prison.

    We imprison more people than China, which has about four times our population.

    We imprison more people than any nation on this planet.

    We spend more than $30 billion annually on our "corrections" system.

    It's not a coincidence that the number of people we incarcerate began to increase with Nixon in office, and then skyrocket when St. Ronnie implemented his bullshit "War On Drugs."

    More than 20 percent of all prisoners are non-violent drug offenders.

    Some dipshit judge just gave a guy life for selling weed. How much money is that going to cost?

    Yet this never gets discussed in a serious way by politicians, lest they be labeled "soft on crime." Well, if politicians aren't going to fix the problem, let the judicial branch do it.
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Not only that, but a huge chunk of those prisoners are essentially there for being poor. A lot of times, their sentence has expired, and they leave on parole or mandatory supervised release. Then they get tossed back in for something technical, often for being homeless, unemployed, or not receiving mental health care treatment, none of which they can afford. It would cost the government about $6,000 a year, if that, to set someone up with a studio apartment while they are on parole/supervised release. Instead, they toss them back in the slammer at a cost of many times that per year.
  3. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    That certainly seems to be the approach, Constitution be damned.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It definitely has the feel of a decision from 1967 instead of 2011, doesn't it?

    And it's strange, because the Kennedy v. King decision a week ago was definitely pro-prosecution/law enforcement - a joke, really - and that was 8-1.
  5. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    The Judicial Branch isn't allowed to remedy Eighth Amendment violations?
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Your post seemed to be referring to the "problem" of wasteful spending on imprisonment. That should be the state legislature's decision to make, not the judiciary.

    The individual rights "problem" of cruel and unusual punishment - incidental to the wasteful spending - is conceivably the judiciary's.

    In other words, it feels like you moved the goal posts on him a smidge. The judiciary addressed the 8th Amendment problem. If cutting back on wasteful spending is an incidental effect, all the better, but that can't be the judiciary's primary, articulated aim.
  7. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    This decision reflects a direct result of the disconnect so often found among our friends on the Right. They want "law and order," (which, in practice, usually means jailing someone of color for a non-violent, drug-related offense) and yet they don't want to pay taxes in order to fund their law-and-order demands.

    If there's anything the country is learning over the last couple of years, it's that you just can't have it both ways.
  8. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    Not at all. The very first line of my post addressed the astronomical number of prisoners we currently house. And that was what this whole case was about.

    The rest of my post simply addressed how we got to this point and why it won't ever improve. The money thing was aimed at conservatives such as Mizzou.

    My argument has many parts; the Eighth Amendment is one of them.
  9. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    I won't even mention Mandatory Minimums, mainly because I fear it will veer us off topic.
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I read your post to say that judges should fix the spending issue if legislators won't. They can, but only incidentally through the Eighth Amendment. There is another way to fix Eighth Amendment overcrowding - just build more prisons. Which would cost even more money. Either way, it puts conservatives in a tight jam. Release prisoners (fine by me). Or spend more on building more facilities. Hobson's Choice for them, obviously.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Start small... Anyone convicted of a non-violent crime having to do with marijuana, immediately gets out of prison...

    Let's see how much space that clears... OK, anyone convicted of a non-violent crime having to do with hallucinogenics, immediately gets out of prison...

    I'll bet it would clear more space than you think.
  12. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    Judges should fix the entire issue if legislators won't.

    But the judges won't do that. Hell, I'm surprised they did this.
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