LAPD Prison Prison Policy Supreme Court Uncategorized

California Crime Rate Drops, Plus More Views on the Supreme’s Prison Ruling

I saw LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Tuesday
when I was having lunch at the Homegirl Cafe. We talked briefly about Monday’s Supreme Court decision. He wasn’t worried, the chief said, or words to that effect. We were just chatting amiably in the noisy luncheon crowd, thus I took no notes. “I think it’ll be fine,” he said. In other words, the sky wasn’t falling, like the plethora of headlines and news broadcasts would have had us believe on Monday.

Now that there’s been a day to reflect, both Steve Lopez and Tim Rutten wrote excellent columns on the issue.

Here is a clip from Lopez’s essay:

On Monday, the way we jam inmates into prisons was found to meet the constitutional definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

California worked at it, worked at it, worked at it, and finally, we did it.

Our achievement here in the Golden State was to incarcerate nearly twice as many people as the prisons were designed to hold, and the amazing thing is that we pulled this off despite building a new prison every year or so. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has ordered us to thin the herd by 33,000 or so.

The majority opinion called the conditions “appalling” and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited “telephone booth-sized cages” and inmates dying of cancer without medical care.

But others warned of disastrous results if inmates are freed, rather than shifted to county facilities, as Gov. Jerry Brown has recommended.

“Terrible things are sure to happen,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia.

Guess what, Mr. Scalia. Terrible things already did happen. That’s how we got to this point.

Read the rest:

Did I mention that California’s crime is lower than it’s been in decades?

Consider it mentioned.

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