Saturday, December 18, 2010

On Prisons

Two related items in this week's news. The first describes the Stanford Law School's "Three Strikes Project", which has overturned 14 life prison terms handed out under
California's ridiculous 3-strikes law, which provides for life imprisonment for a third felony, even when all offenses were non-violent.

The current case they are working on is interesting because both the judge and the prosecutor have joined the Project in urging a modification of the harsh penalty imposed on a poor bastard who got life in prison for 2 burglaries committed at age 19, plus a conviction for possessing $10 worth of drugs. Details are at

The second item describes how the number of inmates 55 and older in U.S. prisons are 71% higher than in 1999. The cost for housing older inmates is $70,000 a year. The cost for younger inmates is said to be less than half of that, although I have seen a figure that the average cost in California is $50,000 per year.

All during the recent campaign Republicans who whined about the deficit were asked what they would cut, and not one would give a straight answer. Here is how you can tell a real conservative: he or she will answer that they will close half the prisons and free the non-violent offenders, and close down all of our military bases on foreign soil. All the other mumb0-jumbo is just that.

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