Jul 24, 2006
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to build at least two new prisons as part of his “prison reform” plan. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Democrat, has written a bill authorizing his proposal.
There is no doubt that the California prisons have big problems. The system is severely overcrowded, with 171,000 inmates crammed into prisons that were built for half that many. There is no space for educational or recreational activities, since every inch of space is used for beds. Inmates are forced to sleep on triple-bunks, in gyms, hallways, even on the floors. February’s two-week-long prison riots, pitting Hispanic and black inmates against each other, were undoubtedly a result, at least in part, of severe overcrowding.
Like other states, California has lengthened sentences for minor, non-violent crimes. California’s notorious three-strikes law has sent people to prison for life for stealing pizza.
Far from rehabilitating criminals, these prisons are the number one breeding ground for hardened criminals. And the longer people stay, the harder they get!
Certainly, working people are worried about crime. But that doesn’t mean they agree with this cheap, supposedly “tough on crime” posture of politicians. People know that what drives more and more working-class youth to crime is the lack of a decent education and decent-paying jobs.
But that’s exactly the subject that all these politicians avoid. They are too busy planning how to dish out more taxpayer money to the big bosses they represent.
Generations of young people, whose lives are thrown away to rot in prisons, pay the price.