California Budget Prison Policy The Filter

The Filter: The Supremes, Prisons and Common Sense

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Okay, here’s this week’s segment of The Filter in which I talkin with Fred Roggin about the prison population reduction issue, which happens to be news because of two US Supreme Court decisions that occurred on Tuesday.

Here’s the deal: Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown challenged in court the right of the federal panel of three judges led by Judge Thelton Henderson to force the governor and the legislature to find a method to reduce California’s over-sized prison population. The case went to a federal appeals court, and the appellate court sided with Henderson and company. Undaunted, Arnold and Jerry went on to the U.S. Supreme Court—which refused to hear the case.

That happened on Tuesday. This meant that the plan submitted by Schwarzenegger to reduce the state’s prison population by 40,000 to 57,000 over the next couple of years—a plan made because the judges in effect held a gun to the governor’s head—.was to go into effect at the end of this month.

However, to completely confuse things, the US Supremes also put a freeze on the prisoner reduction plan until they (The Supreme Court) could decide what they were going to do about the second lawsuit that Arnold and Jerry had filed about the issue. (This has to do with the three federal judges overriding state law. It’s more complicated than we need to go into right now but, in any case, the state is challenging another aspect of the prison reduction plan.)

Thus everything is a go-ahead—AND everything is frozen.

Anyway, the Supreme Court case was the jumping off point for this segment of The Filter Have a listen. Certainly the topic has more sides to it than we could go into in a three minute segment. But we got to as much as we could.


  • A state cannot reduce a constantly growing prison population by 30% of current numbers and perform its duty to protect citizens from criminals. The rights of citizens for police protection should be the overriding concern. In addition, judges have no authority to increase taxes for prison enlargement or anything else.

    It looks like a Mexican stand-off with Mexicans being a solid source of filling the prisons. Hey, have you ever considered that enforcing immigration laws might be cheaper than letting illegals and their offspring to use up state resources?

  • Celeste, I would prefer a view of the mountains behind you, even if it’s a large picture, or a stack of books. That would make it look as if you were somewhere that identifies with you.

    What do you do with the killer cat and wolf-dog when you’re on the air?

    Oh, I love your faces between 2:11 and 2:15 of the video. I’d love to have an expert on body language interpret your facial expressions.

  • Oh, I love your faces between 2:11 and 2:15 of the video. I’d love to have an expert on body language interpret your facial expressions


    At 2:15, Celeste is showing many teeth…like angry cat.

  • Yeah, but Celeste looked so cute at the 4:00 mark, where she flipped her head and smiled, a tactic that disarms men and lets women get away with what they want.

  • I think the angry cat notion is right, Hiroshi. The killer cat was fed, feeling lazy and locked in the bedroom sleeping on the bed. The wolf-dog was outside, which was okay with her as she was sick of being cooped up due to the rain.

    Woody, I think a view of mountains would be fine, but tough to accomplish at 7:45. If I keep doing this, I may switch to the office which will have the book view you mention.

  • “It’s not working for public safety” Celeste? Check the reduction in crime rates and argue that point.

    No way is it not working, 3 Strikes has been great!

  • Great job in the interview, Celeste. And of course, he knew what point you were trying to make when he interrupted you. He just wanted to get his talking point in. His style of interviewing is the reason I don’t watch cable news anymore. There’s just nothing enlightening about watching people argue. I’d rather read the transcript. But you handled him well. And, great points regarding the prisons. You couldn’t have put it better when you said that there’s other routes to go with parole violations than just throwing them back in prison, and you’re absolutely correct. Sensible solutions trump ideology every time.

  • Hey, Surefire. So where did I mention Three Strikes? Unless I dozed off in the middle of the commentary (always a possibility) I don’t believe that came even close to being mentioned. And thanks Rob, PM and Gava Joe. As for Fred, he just acts as devil’s advocate to keep in lively, which given the 4 minute length of the segment, is useful. I’d not have thought of inserting the Hawaiian judge’s model had he not pushed me on the issue.

  • Good job, Celeste – Fred even said so after drawing you out for the sake of argument. (pat on head!) BUT I have to agree with Woody on the background – a little busy, somehow looks American Indian-ish to me. Which is a nice thing in the appropriate situation – I have a little collection of the stuff from travels here and there – but somehow doesn’t seem to fit. I don’t think the bookish professorial background is right for you either, your quirky and perky (forgive the horrible cliche) personality is probably why he uses you so often. Maybe the Topanga woodsy view IS right, even if it’s just a blow-up of a photo or something. One of yours? NOT the sad tree blown over in the icestorm, not the pretty roses, something simple…

    Three strikes is one of those things that sounds good in theory but when the third strike is extremely minor, like stealing a ketchup or soda bottle, it doesn’t make sense. A third felony, yes. The Hawaiian thing DID throw Fred for a loop and scored you a touchdown – never heard that one.

  • I never said you did Celeste, that’s my own comment. You said, “It’s not working for public safety”, and the context you used it in was totally ridiculous and wrong, when you look at crime reduction in this state(3 Strikes being a big part of that in my opinion). Something must be working Celeste and if you think sending someone to county or a local lock-up “here” for a few weeks is the answer you’re dreaming.

    Not one of you know what you’re talking about when it comes to 3 Strikes and always throw away the number of crimes that are plea bargained away, along with an inmates actual history of conduct to moan and groan about the latest offense that puts the “habitual offender”, and most are, away for good.

    With the coming release of thousands of inmates it’s only a matter of time before another tragedy takes place, and one of these idiots will be the reason, you can count on that.

  • Sure Fire, what do you mean when you say an inmate’s “history of conduct”? What is that? Like when he cusses at a prison guard? Why should the people pay attention to anything other than his criminal record? What else is any of our business? If his conduct constituted a crime, charge him and convict him. Then it’s no longer conduct. It’s on his record. And then it’s harder for 3 strikes opponents to defend him.

    Conduct… LOL. This isn’t a private company, Sure Fire. The inmates don’t work for the prison. But the prison guards do work for the tax payers. And it’s time for cut backs.

  • And, Sure Fire, got a time line for when we can “count on” this tragedy caused by one of the released inmates? And what is your definition of a tragedy?

  • What I meant was “criminal” conduct. If you’re under the misguided impression that strikes aren’t always counted or that crimes that would be considered strikes aren’t reduced with plea deals, you’re dreaming same as Celeste.

    A tragedy you can figure out for yourself Robbie, be sure when it happens (my guess is the first 30 days)though I’ll post it here or you guys might miss it.

  • Sure Fire, I need to know what you mean by tragedy so I can call you out on being wrong when there isn’t one. Is a tragedy a triple murder? A single murder? A drunk driving ticket? Are you going to cite a bunch of drunk in public violations or whatever and lump that into a tragedy? Just tell us what tragic crime you think will be committed when these prisoners, who are not even in for violent crimes to begin with, btw, are releasted.

  • That should have been “are counted”. You’re little word game is grade school Robbie, play that with someone else.
    Your idiotic jump from triple murder to drunk in public and dependence on what someone’s currently in for, disregarding pass criminal conduct shows you to be the con lover I constantly call you.

    Your reply to my not stating “criminal conduct” was ridiculous. There’s all types of conduct outside of “criminal” that shows what a person is all about. Like I said, play with someone else.

  • Three Strikes came in with the murder of Polly Klass and Kimber Reynolds. That became the crowning glory for the CCPOA. Thousands would be swept up under this law. Although the ads paid for and produced by the prison guards union said it would put away the violent offenders, in truth thousands of drug users, shoplifters and petty criminals would account for the majority convicted. Today 25% of all inmates are strikers 2nd and 3rd. 65% convicted of non-violent crimes or victim-less crimes of drug possession.

    Three Strikes needs to be amended- it is not at all responsible for a drop in crime- but it IS partly responsible for crowding our prisons…lets get the FACTS straight!!

  • Current Threats to University of California Don’t Come From the Outside – $3 Million Extravagant Spending by UC President Yudof for University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau to Hire Consultants – When Work Can Be Done Internally & Impartially
    During the days of the Great Recession, every dollar in higher education counts. Contact Chairwoman Budget Sub-committee on Education Finance Assemblywoman Carter 916.319.2062 – tell her to stop the $3,000,000 spending by Birgeneau on consultants.
    Do the work internally at no additional costs with UCB Academic Senate Leadership (C. Kutz/F. Doyle), the world – class professional UCB faculty/ staff, & the UCB Chancellor’s bloated staff (G. Breslauer, N. Brostrom, F. Yeary, P. Hoffman, C. Holmes etc) & President Yudof.
    President Yudof’s UCB Chancellor should do the high paid work he is paid for instead of hiring expensive East Coast consults to do the work of his job. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the hard work analysis, and make the tough-minded difficult, decisions to identify inefficiencies.
    Where do the $3,000,000 consultants get their recommendations?
    From interviewing the UCB senior management that hired them and approves their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled the public, state, federal agencies?
    $3 million impartial consultants never bite the hands (Chancellor Birgeneau/ Chancellor Yeary) that feed them!
    Mr. Birgeneau’s accountabilities include “inspiring innovation, leading change.” Instead of deploying his leadership and setting a good example by doing the work of his Chancellor’s job, Birgeneau outsourced his work to the $3,000,000 consultants. Doesn’t he engage UC and UC Berkeley people at all levels to examine inefficiencies and recommend $150 million of trims? Hasn’t he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina – which also hired the consultants — about best practices and recommendations that eliminate inefficiencies?
    No wonder the faculty, staff, students, Senate & Assembly are angry and suspicious.
    In today’s Great Recession three million dollars is a irresponsible price to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ UCB Chancellor and his bloated staff do not do the work of their jobs.
    Pick up the phone and call: save $3 million for students!

  • UCB Chancellor Birgeneau Loss of Credibility, Trust
    The UCB budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on expensive outside consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the “innovative thinking, expertise, and new knowledge” the consultants would bring.

    Does this mean that the faculty and management of a world-class research and teaching institution lack the knowledge, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from interviewing faculty and the UCB management that hired them; yet solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor were doing the job HE was hired to do. Consultant fees would be far better spent on meeting the needs of students.

    There can be only one conclusion as to why creative solutions have not been forthcoming from the professionals within UCB: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility and the trust of the faculty as well as of the Academic Senate leadership that represents them. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.

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