Crime and Punishment Prison State Government

If California Can’t Lead, Try Being a Good Follower

Prisoners walking

When it comes to prison numbers and prison policy, the only way that California seems to be leading the nation is with the sheer magnitude of our failures.

This morning, a New York Times editorial lays down a clear suggestion as to what the next step in smart corrections policy has to look like—for the fiscal, social, and moral well-being of the individual states and the nation. Oh, yeah. It’s also better for public safety.

As a positive case in point, it points to excellent pending legislation in the state of Washington.

Here’s how it begins. I recommend reading the whole thing. Then write your governor. That would be Arnold for us California folks.

With corrections costs going through the roof, states and localities are beginning to figure out the long-term costs of just shoving inmates out the door when their sentences are finished. To prevent people from ending up right back inside, states will need to embrace re-entry programs that provide ex-offenders with training, jobs, places to live and a range of social services that don’t exist in most places.

This month, the Washington State Senate passed a farsighted bill that could be a model for the nation. It would require the state Corrections Department to fashion individual re-entry plans — detailing job training, drug treatment and educational goals — for every inmate…..


  • Sounds interesting. Remember when the Golden State was the nation’s premier “Laboratory of Democracy?” Yeah, I know, a long, long, time ago in a country far, far away.

  • I can’t read the NY Times without getting disgusted, so I’ll just have to go by what you write.

    California sets a bad example for the entire country on most everything, but when Las Vegas bar owners start complaining about Californians, then you know that California has hit rock bottom. Here’s some samples:

    Got problems? Blame the Californians

    “California has a negative influence on our society,” he said, glancing around as cigarette smoke fills the stuffy place. “They should keep their world in their world.”

    “Damn Californians,” she said, repeating a familiar complaint. “All their fault, all the time.”

    I don’t know what you do with criminals, but we just execute them. That puts a cap on long-term costs and uncertainties. However, if someone is worth bringing back into society, then they do need to learn trade skills that will provide for them. If they can’t learn them, ship them to Mexico.

    In any event, don’t give them the right to vote. Felons love Democrats and vice versa.

  • Who can argue with a Sheriff who has a recidivism rate of about 16% vs. the national average of 85%???

    Who can argue with a man who runs the only accredited high school under a Sheriff in an American jail?

    Who could argue with that famous Barretta saying emblazoned behind his desk — “If you don’t want to do the time….don’t do the crime”?

    Who can argue with a man who instituted chain gangs, including female and young offender chain gangs? (Well, there are a few liberals that might argue with this one.)

    Who can argue with a man that plays Newt Gingrich’ lecture series on videotape to inmates — oops – I gave it away – Yes it is none other than the tent city sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Arizona.

  • Ah, yes, Ol’ Joe. Even my conservative cop friends see him as something of a nut case. (Although I do like the pink boxer shorts thing he did to keep inmates from jacking the jail undies. It appeals to my fashion sense.)

    Woody, surely you know I’m terribly against capital punishment—EXCEPT when it comes to people who litter in National Parks, and those loathsome slimebags who unleash adware on our non-Mac computers. I say fry their sorry asses (now that lethal injection is not as readily available due to the Cruel and Unusual thing I mentioned earlier).

Leave a Comment