Tuesday, April 02, 2013

California 49th In Transparency

Another dubious distinction for California: It ranks 49th in government transparency. North Dakota takes 50th place. Texas ranks #1 with the only A grade.
Speaking of transparency, I've been wondering about something in regards the prison realignment for some time:

Back when they first started the prison realignment and began sending some inmates back to county jails, the Sacramento Bee reported the realignment also involved returning some prisoners being held out of state to California. No mention of how many. I've only seen it mentioned once and wondered how can that be?

It's much less expensive to hold prisoners out of state. If anything, we should be sending more to other states. Yet, in an effort to reduce state prison populations we're bring more prisoners back? I can't help but wonder if that was just the Governor's way of keeping his friends in the Correctional Officers' union happy?

I brought that up a number of times in comments to Sacramento Bee articles hoping some reporter might pick up on it and get more information. No luck with that as I haven't seen it mentioned again.

So yesterday I decided to look myself and checked the California Dept. of Corrections web site. I found this page which had a couple interesting graphs. One graph shows the prison population down only 602 inmates from November of last year to March of this year- the population seeming to still be well above court ordered levels, if I'm reading the graph right.

The other graph shows the number of parolees down by 1962 in that same period of time. That seems contrary to the impression I've been getting from the news.

Since the inmate figures include all inmates held even out of state, that didn't help with what I was looking for. I ended up looking for someone to contact in regards my inquiry and gave up on it as there were only listings for local public information officers. Not sure an e-mail to the head of corrections himself would go anywhere.

I can't help wonder if some of their figures are being skewed a bit? A short glance at their web page makes it read as if realignment has been a resounding success. They even include a page of quotes from various big wigs attesting to its success. That's not the impression I've gotten elsewhere.


At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clarification. It's not that California reports less about its spending than other states... it's that California reports less about its spending via its web site.

This could be boiled down to something as simple as the vendor the state chose for its database/web service integration years and years ago. Changing it now would cost millions upon millions upon millions of dollars. I suppose it's a question of priorities... spend that money helping California, or spend it helping people who eschew traditional methods of obtaining public information (in person or snail mail).

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

True, their criteria seems limited.

They don't mention the skullduggery that's gone on with budgeting time and again. Taking 3 billion or so from prison realignment funds out of general fund so it won't be included in accounting for a balanced budget, for example.

At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet, you know they did that. It's playing with numbers to report a balanced budget, but the details of how they did it are made public.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Only because of Dan Walters, the Bee's only government watchdog. The Democrats started crowing right away about their "balanced budget". Some still do. Those that know where to look and can expose the deception are far and few between.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

The Prison System is a sham scheme, period.

Some Points:

1) Of the vast majority of prisoners who are non-violent, light drug offenses, etc., if allowed to live on the outside, WOULD cost society overall less in taxdollars because the "standard of living" of many "pisoners" is much lower prior to going into prison than while being imprisoned. Yet, the public employees make much more from tax dollars than what many prisoners could ever earn prior to going into prison.

2) The wealthier people in prison most likely generated more cash flows and business on the outside than on the inside as their standard of living would have been much higher.

3) The hardest core criminals should be dropped-off onto a remote island somewhere in the Pacific or Atlantic, left to fend for themselves without any opportunity to sail-off into the sunset.

4) anonymous #1 - that is a bit "bait and switch", and agreed, government's priority is to camoflage, confuse, deceive, deflect, etc.... on the more powerful control measures; whereas, the public relation stuff for events, etc... usually is up-to-date. Just gotta anticipate where the lies versus the facts.

5) Fred, the skullduggery that reaches into past budgets to "re-adjust figures that were applied to future budgets" AND "implementing new budgets with line items that can be re-adjusted again for future budgets that need to dip into the past again to readjust. Neverending deception and lies

Lastly, it should not be allowed that prisoners who commit a federal crime in Montana be shipped-off to New Jersey for incarceration. The criminal should be forced to be housed in the state of the crime. Same goes for states - a state criminal should not be allowed to transfer out of state for incarceration. Trials for judgement are one thing, incarceration geography is different. Each state has its own mojo of character; and, what one states peoples are like is not the same as what other states peoples are like. States with lower criminal rates should be rewarded by having a smaller prison system, not larger (this includes not importing out-of-state prisoners) - HOJ

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Travis said...

Personally I think they're trying to overwhelm local municipalities to encourage more private prisons be built That way they can provide worse conditions for the inmates while making more money.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Travis said...

I wonder where the federal government rates on this list so much for Obama's transparency

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Travis, that is a great point about using "political pressures" on locals to "drum-up" the fear factor, crime concerns, the idea that a higher level of government is populating local municipalities with a higher concentration of incarcerated folks, etc... in order to "freak voters out" on false needs for more prisons to be built that funnels more tax dollars into the "police state".

Even though most inmates live a better qality of life in prison as compared to out of prison, it is also true that during prison expansionism ploys, crowding is bound to occur for a bit of time in order to create the political fallout process to dump the incarcerated into local municipalities....., and the wheel keeps spinning round and round as the circular logic is used to steal private sector wealth for public sector sham schemes.

Obviously, not arresting folks on "weak-ass" charges over weak-ass laws and rules is a better way to control inmate populations, but alas, a "police state" would be much harder to manifest. - HOJ

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Part of the blame is to be put on the citizens who are not transparent either.

HealthCare Transparency example comment:

Its not possible to provide health services to the growing senior population without a much larger contribution from the kids. The young supported this policy, so lets hope they don't protest when it comes time to pay.

Response: This example is rife with deception in a form of communication that is intentionally misleading by the "types" that want a gain at someone elses expense. In the example, consider how the commenter rationalizes the word usage and explanation of "young".

Ya see, the commenter uses no less than two different versions of who is represented by the word "young". It may have been fact that "the young from last century" created a ponzi scheme, but certainly no the "young as of today". The commenter mixes and matches various generations of young, even though it was only one generation of young that sabotaged this country. - HOJ

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Travis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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