|created 5/23/2011 - 6:25 pm by Chris Mangrum|
This should end well
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered California to release up to 46,000 prisoners because of overcrowding that is causing "needless suffering and death."
Isn't prison supposed to be a bad place to be? Why the coddling?
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.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, speaking for the majority, said California's prisons had "fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements" because of overcrowding. As many as 200 prisoners may live in gymnasium, he said, and as many as 54 prisoners share a single toilet.
Oh NOES! The poor prisoners are forced to share sleeping space in a GYM? They have to share a TOILET? The HORROR! I wonder if the victims of their crimes were afforded the same decency that the SCOTUS is demanding they be given.
At least Scalia, Alito, and Roberts showed some backbone and common sense.
In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia called the ruling "staggering" and "absurd."
He said the high court had repeatedly overruled the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for ordering the release of individual prisoners. Now, he said, the majority were ordering the release of "46,000 happy-go-lucky felons." He added that "terrible things are sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order." JusticeClarence Thomas agreed with him.
In a separate dissent, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr. said the ruling conflicted with a federal law intended to limit the power of federal judges to order a release of prisoners.
Of course the ACLU praised the judgement. It's just not fair that criminals should have to dislike their stay in jail.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the court had "done the right thing" by addressing the "egregious and extreme overcrowding in California's prisons."
David Fathi, director of the ACLU national prison project, said "reducing the number of people in prison not only would save the state taxpayers half a billion annually, it would lead to the implementation of truly rehabilitative programs that lower recidivism rates and create safer communities."
I get the saving money bit, but what needs to be examined is who will win in the trade between money and security (Hint: it's the prisoners). To the last claim I say the proof is in the pudding. How is releasing prisoners going to lead to the implementation of rehab programs? Or safer communities for that matter? The more I read, the more it all seems broken.
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