The Legislative Analyst’s Office sees serious flaws in both Darrell Steinberg’s prison plan and Jerry Brown’s prison plan. I am confident their assessment is correct. Jerry’s is also more expensive but it has one huge advantage over Steinberg’s plan; it will likely work.
The fact of the mater is, PRISONS WORK. That does not mean they rehabilitate people. Rehabilitation is, for the most part, a myth. What prisons do is called Incapacitation. Prisoners can not (generally speaking) continue to commit crimes against the general public as long as they are locked up in prison. In that sense, prisons work. They are, unfortunately, expensive the way we are required to run them. They are expensive to build, expensive to maintain, and expensive to staff.
If something is not done, SOON, the formerly great state of California will be required to flush about 9,500 convicted felons onto the streets by the end of this calendar year. These guys are not hub cap thieves or pot smokers.
Don’t get me wrong. Jerry still has his head up his ass. The Sacramento PRAVDA quotes him today as saying “…which threaten to undo the remarkable progress we’ve made in realignment.” He does, however, realize that letting out serious repeat dangerous offenders will result in a lot of new crime that will make him and his realignment hoax look bad. Jerry does not want to look bad. He would rather get the cell space to keep the bad boys inside than let them out (at least for now).
I would not care to bet that either of these plans will produce an actual law within the next 8 days, the drop-dead date for current legislation. I can’t see any reasonable possibility that the legislature will act by the end of the year with emergency legislation if they don’t get it done now. Will Steinberg’s “Lets throw another $200 million at rehabilitation and pretend it works” plan actually produce a reduction in recidivism? Will the sun rise in the West tomorrow? Will Howie Katz be elected the next Pope? I think the last two are far more likely to occur than the first. I wonder what the legislature will think? We will find out in about eight days.
Clicking here will link to a Sacramento PRAVDA piece on this story.