Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

That's exceptional, America

The Supreme Court finds there's something else cruel and unusual in California in addition to Arnold Schwarzenegger:

The majority opinion included photographs of inmates crowded into open gymnasium-style rooms and what Justice Kennedy described as "telephone-booth-sized cages without toilets" used to house suicidal inmates. Suicide rates in the state's prisons, Justice Kennedy wrote, have been 80 percent higher than the average for inmates nationwide. A lower court in the case said it was "an uncontested fact" that "an inmate in one of California's prisons needlessly dies every six or seven days due to constitutional deficiencies."

Broke and over-reliant on long-term incarceration to deal with soon might we see a smilar situation in other states, including Pennsylvania? The situation in the Golden State never should have come to this -- but the dissenting conservative justices do have one point. There are probably 30,000 inmates serving overly long sentences -- remember the three strikes law? -- or who could be dealt with through alternatives to incarceration, but they probably won't be the same 30,000 who end up getting released.

Barack Obama should be grateful that the horrible mess he was left with wasn't as bad as the mess that Jerry Brown is dealing with.