Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

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Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by TexasBlue on Mon May 23, 2011 3:06 pm

Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

James Oliphant
Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2011


The Supreme Court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, has an upheld an injunction by a three-judge panel ordering California to release about 46,000 inmates -- more than one-fourth the state prison population -- over the next two years to relieve overcrowding.

The decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and backed by the court's liberal bloc. At issue was whether federal judges had the power to order the release of state prisoners as a necessary means of curing a constitutional violation.

A special panel of three judges ruled in 2009 that inmates in the state's 33 prisons were being denied adequate medical care as required by the Constitution. Because overcrowding was the "primary cause," they ordered the state to cap its prison population at 137% of capacity.

The court said the state's prisons had "short of minimum constitutional requirements" and "needless suffering and death" have resulted.

Kennedy noted, however, that the state had begun to reduce overcrowding and said officials deserve time to make changes. The dissenters, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, called the decision "staggering" and "absurd." It "takes the federal courts wildly beyond their institutional capacity," he wrote.
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by TexasBlue on Mon May 23, 2011 3:06 pm

Unbelievable. That's all I can say.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by dblboggie on Tue May 24, 2011 1:56 pm

As if Kalifornia wasn't in enough trouble already... now the left wing of the Supreme Court has ordered the release of 46 thousand convicted felons onto the state's streets.

I must have passed through a wormhole in my sleep and am currently residing in some alternate universe.
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Wed May 25, 2011 5:50 am

Just playing devil's advocate here, but surely for most if not all of those being released it is a case of that they were due for release very soon anyway? We are not going to be talking about murderers being released 8 months into a 40 year sentence but more like burglars 2 years, 11 months into a 3 year sentence?
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by kronos on Wed May 25, 2011 12:01 pm

Looks like California's three-strike law has come back to bite it in the ass.

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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by TexasBlue on Wed May 25, 2011 1:20 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:Just playing devil's advocate here, but surely for most if not all of those being released it is a case of that they were due for release very soon anyway? We are not going to be talking about murderers being released 8 months into a 40 year sentence but more like burglars 2 years, 11 months into a 3 year sentence?

Yeah, but my question (and concern) is how many of these types are going to re offend and end up back in the clink?

kronos wrote:Looks like California's three-strike law has come back to bite it in the ass.

Yep, I read that somewhere in the last few days regarding this. That 3 strikes is what populated the prison.
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by kronos on Wed May 25, 2011 2:05 pm

dblboggie wrote:As if Kalifornia wasn't in enough trouble already... now the left wing of the Supreme Court has ordered the release of 46 thousand convicted felons onto the state's streets.

I believe the order is for them to reduce the prison population, not necessarily to release them outright. Jerry Brown has proposed a plan to transfer many of the inmates to county jails.

Of course, this will be a bureaucratic, logistical and fiscal nightmare. And it's not like county jails are just these vacant spaces waiting to be filled, or don't have a purpose of their own that is distinct from the purpose of prisons, or will be remotely able to contain the prison system's overflow.

But this is what happens when you decide to start ballooning your state's prison population independent of any increase in crime. You end up with thousands of burglars and petty thieves and crazy people crammed into sub-Guantanamo conditions.

If you are going to double the number of prisoners, you need to double the number of prisons.

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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by TexasBlue on Wed May 25, 2011 2:12 pm

Also, one needs to take into consideration the large illegal alien population out there. I did some research on it and they have about a 40% illegal alien prison population. Let 'em out and deport their asses.... except for the hardcore criminals.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu May 26, 2011 5:50 am

But surely Tex, if somebody is likely to reoffend being released a few weeks early, they are likely to reoffend anyway?

I'm guessing that they are going to release those that it is most sensible to release and those released might be put into other programmes such as community service. That is what I would expect.
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by kronos on Thu May 26, 2011 11:41 am

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:But surely Tex, if somebody is likely to reoffend being released a few weeks early, they are likely to reoffend anyway?

Yes, but you seem to be assuming that small-time criminals are serving light sentences that are proportional to their offenses, and would be released in a few weeks or months anyway were it not for this ruling. But in fact, many small-time criminals are doing 25 to life because of California's "tough on crime" three strikes law.

As I understand this law (Proposition 184, voted in by 72% of the state's population in 1994), it classifies certain felonies as violent and/or "serious." If you have one such offense (strike one), the next such offense (strike two) will mandatorily incur double the baseline sentence for that offense. The third offense (strike three) doesn't have to be violent or serious--any felony will qualify--and it mandatorily incurs either 25 years or triple the baseline sentence, whichever is greater. Certain crimes committed as a juvenile age 16 or over are eligible count as "strikes." Some criminal acts actually combine two or more different charges, which can incur consecutive sentences.

So we have guys like Gary Ewing, serving a 25-year sentence for trying to steal golf clubs. Or Leandro Andrade, serving a 50-year sentence for breaking into K-Mart and stealing 5 videotapes. Or Santo Reyes, who's serving 26 years for cheating on a driver's license test. This is all in radically punitive, "tough on crime" California.

Obviously, the result of such an asinine law is that for any given crime rate, incarcerations will increase dramatically. Prison populations will explode, unless there is an equally dramatic reduction in crime, which there hasn't been, thus, prison populations have exploded. Our incarceration rate (nationally) has increased sevenfold since 1975. But have built seven times as many prisons? No. We have not.

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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu May 26, 2011 12:24 pm

I'm all for being tough on crime but that just sounds crazy.
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Re: Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates

Post by TexasBlue on Thu May 26, 2011 3:33 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:But surely Tex, if somebody is likely to reoffend being released a few weeks early, they are likely to reoffend anyway?

I'm guessing that they are going to release those that it is most sensible to release and those released might be put into other programmes such as community service. That is what I would expect.

I think it's going to come down to your second sentence. But I don't have that much faith in these types of people to begin with. I think this decision is going to come back and make Cali a laughing stock.
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