Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More prisons on the way?

Looks like both the Democrat and Republican gubernatorial candidates are pandering to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. Both say they'll keep building more prisons, if elected. This editorial from the Sacramento Bee tells it pretty much as it is, imo (for login, use humboldtlib as the username and blogspot as password).

I don't know what the answer is to the prison overcrowding problem. I suppose there isn't any easy one. One thing we do need to do, though, is separate the wheat from the chaff and take prisoners that are locked up solely for non- violent drug offenses out of prison for starters.

Once we see just how many people we really need to have in prison, then we'll know just how big a problem we have. The Sacramento Bee seems to agree, at least on that.

12 Comments:

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem is Fred that the "non-violent drug offenders" are the people who are often responsible for theft and burglary activity to support their drug habit. They don't always get punished for all those crimes, but they'll be caught with a bunch of stolen property from vehicle/residential burglaries and claim they found it or that "Johnny" no last name gave it to them.

Releasing those people will increase property crime.

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Perhaps, and I've never suggested people shouldn't be held accountable for property crimes. But, we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those druggies that are stealing, as part of their lifestyle, should get caught eventually. If we don't have room in jail to keep them, they walk anyway so let's make some room.

Another problem with the drug thing is, while it throws some people in jail for personal behavior that usually harms no one but themselves, it also gives them an out:

I remember watching a Court TV show featuring drug rehab attempts as an alternative to incarceration. The first girl they showed was one that was arrested for petty theft, or some such. The first words out of her mouth were along the line of asking to be placed in some drug diversion program to avoid the criminal prosecution, blaming drugs for her choice to steal.

Whoaaa...says I. She needs to take some responsibility for her behaviour, not just blame it on drugs. Sure, as you allude to, drugs are to blame for a lot of property crime. But my preference would be to tell the criminal that drugs are her choice, but as long as she respects other people's rights and choices, she's free to deal with the drug problem as she sees fit. Once she cross the line and start stealing, then it becomes our problem and while drug treatment can be part of the solution, she still needs to pay the price for stealing.

Also, while I see what you're saying, 8:38, I find it troublesome to suggest we lock someone up for non- aggressive behaviour just because we assume they should have been locked up anyway for something they might not have caught doing yet.

 
At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not saying lock them up for something they did not do; I'm simply saying that a lot of people make the argument that "non-violent drug offenders" should not be punished.

I think that their drug lifestyle is not harmless. I know that many, if not most, support their habit by property crimes. I also know that they abuse and neglect their children because of their habit.

You would say, wait until they are caught abusing or neglecting their children, and then punish them for that. They may never be turned in for the behavior, and how many victims do they leave in their wake as a "non-violent drug offender"?

I don't think that drug abuse just hurts the addict. I don't think that it's a harmless activity.

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger Fred said...

9:37 wrote:"I think that their drug lifestyle is not harmless.".

I guess that's the age old argument about who deems what harmless or harmful, (although I don't know that anyone claims drug ABUSE is harmless). We could go a long way with that line of thinking, couldn't we? Some on the left don't think shooting sports and gun ownership is harmless. Many on the right think recreational drug use or even homosexuality is harmful.

If we went along with all the groups that think everything that's harmful to someone should be outlawed, we'll be in deep kimchee. I think we might well be heading in that direction anyway, so perhaps my point is moot?

As an aside:

I know one LPer up here that said " We shouldn't be locking up non- violent criminials". I had to ask him what should we do about thieves and such, where the crime might be considered non- violent. He just said, "We just shouldn't be locking up non- violent people...", or some such.

I believe the conversation started after past LP CA gubernatorial candidate, Steve Kubby, made a similar statement about releasing non- violent criminals from prison. I suggested over an LP e-mail list that he best describe what he defines as "non- violent", as many mainstream folks would see that as releasing burglars and the like. That started some back and forth but I never got a sensible answer.

One other LPer said "non- violents" could just be put on probation, to which I replied, "What if they violate that probation and/ or re- commit the crime?". His response was along the line of "We can give them more time on probation. If nothing else, we'll make their life miserable.". Seemed a bit lame to me.

Found out later, the first LPer I referred to above, was on probation for some sex related crime. He said it was for sex with an underaged girl. Not saying he might have thought otherwise about locking up non- violent criminals if he hadn't been on probation.

Didn't really matter. They ended up popping him for something along the same line, although it might have been violation of the terms of his probation.

Saw in the paper where he got a year in jail for whatever it was he went to court for. Assuming he was charged with a misdemeanor, they must have really had it in for him to give him a year and have him serve the whole sentence. I don't think that happens all that often nowadays.

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Fred,
"Non violent" should not be confused with "victimless". Any act that harms no one (except the govt) is a victimless crime and I agree that the punishment should not include incarceration.

 
At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drug's are non-violent !? I guess all the reports on A&E, Discovery, 20-20, DateLine, CNN, etc are all wrong?

I guess murder or a home invasion robbery is non-violent if the murder or robbery are drug related?

Have you ever thought to add up the (reported) murders, shootings, and robberies in Humboldt over the past 20 years that were marijuana related ?

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:54

Have you ever thought to add up all the accidents, injuries, deaths, shootings, robberies etc where automobiles where involved?

You can connect violence to any damn thing you want to if you try hard enough. Fred said non-violent damnit. Who are you, Rollin Richmond?

 
At 5:38 AM, Blogger Fred said...

"I guess murder or a home invasion robbery is non-violent if the murder or robbery are drug related?".

Nope. No one's saying that murder or home invasion robberies are acceptable. Problem is, we've created the incentive for violence through prohibition. The violence that we had over alcoholic beverages seemed to go away with the repeal of prohibition.

There is a lot of violence around here over pot. It would probably disappear if you let everybody just grow as much pot as they want. There'd be little demand for it then.

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except with the exportation to other places.

 
At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:46 pm

Nope I'm not Rollin Richmond. Since it's obvious you don't like him I'm sure he's a reasonable guy.

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't worry about 7:46 its just michael smith with yet another hard-on for yet another uber-enemy on his very long list of targets.

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:20 pm

same old tired stuff

 

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