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 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/11/AR2010121101556_2.html
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.