Home > Man-Made Disasters > ‘Terrible Things Are Sure to Happen’: Supreme Court Orders California to Release Up to 46,000 Prison Inmates

‘Terrible Things Are Sure to Happen’: Supreme Court Orders California to Release Up to 46,000 Prison Inmates

By David G. Savage – “WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to release tens of thousands of its prisoners to relieve overcrowding, saying that ‘needless suffering and death’ had resulted from putting too many inmates into facilities that cannot hold them in decent conditions.

It is one of the largest prison release orders in the nation’s history, and it sharply split the high court.

Justices upheld an order from a three-judge panel in California that called for releasing 38,000 to 46,000 prisoners. Since then, the state has transferred about 9,000 state inmates to county jails. As a result, the total prison population is now about 32,000 more than the capacity limit set by the panel.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
  1. 05/23/2011 at 3:14 PM

    One of the principal drivers of prison overcrowding in CA is the cost of housing each criminal–something like twice the national avg. I don’t care to look up all the facts and figures, but the costs are staggering.

    This piece in the Wall Street Journal shows that CA prison guards earn higher salaries and benefits than graduates of Harvard: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704132204576285471510530398.html


  2. ICA
    05/23/2011 at 5:49 PM

    Prisoners should be made to work at prison. I’m sure there’s something they could do. People are always looking for crushed rock for driveways…


  3. 05/24/2011 at 12:37 AM

    Monica Almeida/The New York Times

    Before he went to jail, Danny Ivey had barely seen a backyard garden.

    A California program helps inmates learn welding skills so they can repair leaky public water tanks.

    But here he was, two years left on his sentence for grand theft, bent over in a field, snapping wide, green collard leaves from their stems. For the rest of the week, Mr. Ivey and his fellow inmates would be eating the greens he picked, and the State of Florida would be saving most of the $2.29 a day it allots for their meals.

    Prison labor — making license plates, picking up litter — is nothing new, and nearly all states have such programs. But these days, officials are expanding the practice to combat cuts in federal financing and dwindling tax revenue, using prisoners to paint vehicles, clean courthouses, sweep campsites and perform many other services done before the recession by private contractors or government employees.

    In New Jersey, inmates on roadkill patrol clean deer carcasses from highways. Georgia inmates tend municipal graveyards. In Ohio, they paint their own cells. In California, prison officials hope to expand existing programs, including one in which wet-suit-clad inmates repair leaky public water tanks. There are no figures on how many prisoners have been enrolled in new or expanded programs nationwide, but experts in criminal justice have taken note of the increase…



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