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Heather Mac Donald
California’s Prison-Litigation Nightmare « Back to Story

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One way to address the problem would be to implement Laura's Law and evaluate every prisoner being released for inclusion in it. Laura's Law allows courts to order the mentally ill into mandated and monitored treatment as a condition for living in the community. It has reduced arrest 83% in NY and 70% in CA. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/268623/how-california-can-safely-release-33000-prisoners-mary-ann-bernard
DJ Jaffe
Executive Dir
Mental Illness Policy Org
http://lauras-law.org/
OUTSTANDING WORK, YOU REALLY RESEARCHED THIS TOPIC. IT WILL NEVER SEE LIGHT OF DAY, AND THAT IS TRULY A SIGN OF THE UTTER CORRUPTION OF OUR SOCIETY BY TRUE EXTREMISTS AND ELITIST ACTIVIST JUDGES, ETC.

CRIME DOES PAY, AND VERY WELL. I KNOW AN INMATE RIGHT NOW THAT IS GOING TO SUE THE JAIL BECAUSE HE DID NOT RECEIVE TIMELY TREATMENT FOR AN INJURY HE SUSTAINED WHILE IN JAIL.
Gee, were these activist judges conservative or... progressive?
People get the government they deserve.
Hi Heather,
I really enjoyed your article and learned much from it. Would you happen to have a listing of your references that you incorporated into this article, specifically regarding rates of suicide attempts.
There is a spike in crime, and even the "nothing to see here" LA Times has printed stories on it. The County has had to take in in some of the state inmates, and hence has had to release some of its own. Incarceration times have fallen again--a 1 year sentence often means 3 months tops. And the release mandate means that fewer people are sent to prison since there is no place for them. Anyone knows what more felons on the street means.

The prisons did not fill up because Pete Wilson wanted to look tough: anyone succumbing to that simplistic notion ought to read more and emote less.

The crime in the 70's-80's was excessive,a result of the infatuation with the idea that chronic felons only needed love and a library to be "rehabilitated." People got tired of being lab rats for the Ramsey Clark mode of law enforcement. A federal study found, moreover, that upwards of 87% of violent crimes were done by recidivists--felons on parole for an earlier crime.

Hence the statewide vote to incarcerate "3 strikers," which the elites opposed but the people turned out in droves to support. The sheltered elites still oppose Three Strikes, and try to weaken it at every turn. The people support it--we know what it means to have someone with 3 robberies loose again.

Prison conditions do not mandate the release of dangerous felons. They do get free medical care, and there are murders on the outside too. The idea that the law abiding majority have to be at risk because a judge cannot grasp that the con is better off for us and himself sleeping in a gym is amazing. "Evolving standards of decency" only means what some judge thinks. If this issue were put to a vote, the citizens of California would overwhelmingly support closing the slammer door of violent felons. But of course, we don't seem "decent" enough to decide.
Quote: Justice Kennedy, already on record as a critic of contemporary incarceration policies, found that the health care provided by the state’s prisons fell “below the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” and that only a reduction in the inmate census would cure that constitutional violation.

Justice Kennedy apparently sees no such "evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society" for the ordinary citizens who'll be the victims of these released criminals. If they suffer in increasing severity from crime that's clearly no big deal for him.

Years ago, I lived in Dallas at a time when the city's 911 response was notorious slow and erratic. I visited the home of a mere retired courtroom stenographer. (Note that. Not an active judge.) She showed me a special number she could call that would get a near instant police response.

If she has that, we can imagine the response the DC police will make if Justice Kennedy calls their special number. And that perhaps explains why the learned justice cares so little for ordinary people.




check it out.
Realignment and early release have been so offensive to the CRIME VICTIMS! What about them? My ex-husband is in prison for spousal rape (he almost nearly killed me during the attack), and while in CA prison has suffered medical problems. Although he was in prison in Norco, they sent him to Tri-City Hospital (in Oceanside) for his medical care. There is a county hospital in Riverside (closer than Oside), but they didn't send him there...nor a prison medical facility. He had the wonderful care of a private hospital, Tri-City. WHY??
And although my ex is a sex offender, and therefore currently ineligible for early release based on AB109, that hasn't stopped him from repeatedly claiming that he is getting out early. He makes these claims in unwanted letters he writes to our sons. Do you know how scary and stressful it is for me, as his victim still afraid that he will kill me when he's released, to never be sure of what this damned 3-Judge panel will order next. I have zero peace of mind. Bottom-line...there is NO consideration of the crime victims in any of these decisions that are made by the courts. Plus, it must cost even more to re-arrest these early releasers, investigate their crimes, prosecute them again, etc. I can't imagine that is cost-effective in the long run. I just wish CA would once and for all build a few more prisons and eliminate the argument of overcrowding. The citizens of this state will be better off in the long run. Soon, the crime pendulum will swing so far back in favor of criminals, there will be a revolt by law-abiding citizens (I hope).
Bring back execution in Cali. Problem solved.
Excellent research.
Much as I like Heather's work, this extremely long article seems to pose no real solutions - perhaps in an attempt to be "fair and balanced" - other than letting the Legislators legislate instead of the courts.

The problem in implementing laws made by the temporarily-elected instead of by the lifetime-appointed is frankly, us. The dumbed-down, short-attention span electorate that keeps thinking liberalism/progressivism will offer some sort of magic cure to America's ills (actual and contrived). Obamaclaus is not the problem; just the symptom.

Until America is as destroyed as California is, there is little incentive for people to pay attention (or for the wimpy Republican Party to stop kicking the can down the road). Burn it all and rebuild it from the ground up! Oh, and allow concealed-carry nationally during the process.
Every time the judiciary legislates you get these Kafkaesque situations - this artilce reminded me of the skid row boondoggle described by HD in los Angles. It's like every time the judiciary gets involved in legislating the normal world gets changed to bizarro world.

What is fundamentally happening is that you have a judicary that has nothing but impatience toward, and contempt for the legislative process - democracy, liberty, the people. The judiciary basically takes power - but because it has to exercise power in a way that pays lip service to the normal legislative channels what happens is an almost comic interplay between the judiciary and the "normal" functioning of government. The only people who get screwed in this situation are THE people, but that's usual and to be expected.

Makes you wonder why the judiciary doesn't simply do what it wants to do anyway, and usurp all legisative power and rule by decree. It might be doing everyone a favor if all the pretense is just dropped. The exercise of power by the judiciary is all encompassing anyway - here in New jersey, the Supreme Court has taken unto itself the power to regulate and implement its own policies in education, health, crime (of course), zoning, taxation, and a host of other areas.

In New Jersey the legislature is allowed to name the highways, and not much else - the High Court wields power through agencies created for it by the legislature but at the Court's demand - the Schools Development Authority, the Cuonsil of Affordable Housing, all agencies implementing the NJ Supreme Court's policies, and funded at the Court's direction. These and other agencies exercise policy created by the Court from whatever reading of the state Constitution it likes at that moment. The people get ZERO say in the process, it is a seven person dictatorship.

As HM's article shows, when the judiciary exercises unrestrained power, what we get is not really Alice in Wonderland, what we get is more like the Wizard of Oz. No matter what the legislature does, when it goes back to the Wizard, it is told to either "come back tomorrow" or a new impossible task is put before it.

Who would want to live in bizarro worlds created by unrestrained judiciaries? The answer is: only those who never knew what it was like before, or those escaping from a third world hell hole, As long as the foreign population spigot is turned to "on" the people arriving in California from elsewhere will never know what it's like to live in a place where the lunatics don't run the asylum.

But then again, how else will the Democrats remain in power unless there is a judiciary doing its bit driving people away from the State?
Yoga class San Quentin prison, pretty much tells you all you need to know. California is lost.
"One might think that any federal judge, conscious of the limits of his own knowledge and democratic legitimacy, would tread carefully in light of such large-scale, evolving, and poorly understood changes in the criminal-justice system. No such luck."

No, anyone with any familiarity with the federal judiciary would not think that.

Woe to the Republic when federal judges through magistrates, panels , and other organs subservient to them, run the prisons, police, schools, and other institutions that belong to the executive branch of government. These will in the natural order of things be leftist and activist judges. Woe to the will of the people and the imperative that they not feel it usurped by a minority of power-loving judges prone to a political and social ideology not widely shared and appointed for life.
Very interesting article
First, kill all the lawyers....

Will Shakespeare
To be honest, California really is not part of America anymore and has not been for quite a while. The last of my family fled the state a few months ago, and so my concern about what happens is minimal. Californians are getting the government, policies, and taxes they so dearly desire and voted for; good and hard.
Libtardism 101...

Coddle the criminal

Damn the victim
Ms MacDonald;

Once again you have summarized a complex problem beautifully.

You are right to attempt to publicize this issue, but I doubt that anyone who as not been inside prison walls can believe you. I've been there in the role of a physician making weekly visits into Pelican Bay. As a teenager I was victimized by the LAPD with a resultant life-long fear/anger/hostility towards police authority.

Ironically, on a personal social basis I have also met two of the three members of the triumvirate.

I have not been in any of the county jails, but I have listened to hours of description and I have concluded that for safety's sake the prisoners are better-off in prison than in jail.

The most striking aspect of each population (judges, guards and prisoners) is the level of commitment each side has towards their own posturing. The "Fu*k You" tattooed on the forehead of certain prisoners is merely an unsophisticated echo of the "Fu*k You" displayed by the pompous but honorable Mr Kelton.

What has evolved is a maginot line of fully committed hostilities.

If this hostility ever spills over into the civilian population, it will make the hubbub around Chris Domer seem like an easter egg hunt.

My biggest fear is not how the california prisoners are now under-encarserated and what that means for crime statistics; but what will happen if there is a general break down in law and order and the Gangs of California choose to seize that opportunity to organize and coordinate their rage against 'the man.'




Have you seen the torture videos yet? These are the types of crimes being committed against the mentally ill on a daily basis. The Scandanavian countries are very successful at healing the mentally ill. A few drops of medication in his water, Cannabis which is given to prisoners in more advanced countries than the United States, a candy bar, a few kind words is all it would have taken to calm this poor human being down. The criminals are wearing the badges and sitting in elected office. They are breaking state and federal laws. Someone must step in and put an end to this barbaric practices that are helping no one. There is no valid excuse for this. Now that the public has access to the videos, there will be more understanding of what the Plata-Coleman case is all about. http://www.modbee.com/2013/10/31/3005255/california-releases-controversial.html
The FBI Unified Crime Statistics run two to three years behind so all we really have to go on are the crime statistics posted on the Attorney General's site. Crime in California is down.
If you only knew how Kelso has pushed his power with the "3" (Judges) concerning the Death Penalty and Lethal Injection!
You fail to mention CDC'S corrupted ways into having all of you fake reporters believe that they operate within the law.
"It has been apparent for some time that the health-care issue has become a pretext for a broader policy of de-incarceration."

Perhaps for some, but not for many advocates of reversal of mass incarceration. For those favoring revision of the long-sentence enthusiasm of the last 35 years, use of proven non-incarceration programs for many cases, and criminal law reforms like getting simple possession out of the criminal law, the health-care issue is an additional REASON to act quickly, and an illustration of the unsustainability of the U.S.' position as the world leader in numbers incarcerated and and rate of incarceration.
robert straschewski November 01, 2013 at 5:42 AM
Going to jail or prison is a CHOICE. If you find the conditions unpleasant, quit behaving in a manner that places you there.

To B. Cayenne Bird - You are right about the murders. However you neglected to mention the murders are overwhelmingly committed by other murderers. The obvious solution is to execute murderers instead of incarcerating them - 99% of the problem solved.
Poor souls, poor souls, so much diatribe about all the psychological and pharmaceutical variations about crime when the sole solution for all of it actually lands upon the theological position.

Do you know that a woman named Gloria Polo (Google it) was hit by lightning down in Venezuela and died, and was headed for Hell when St. Michael grabbed her by her legs and let her dangle at the entrance, and feel the demonic assaults she had earned because of her abortions. The prayers of a pious farmer and her holy mother saved her. When brought back to life, she has gone on to spread the word all over about what is going on with the world. She said Jesus showed her that every time an abortion is committed, something like a seal is opened upon the face of the earth and millions of demons are set loose. Multiply that times 59 million abortions and voila! You've got the factual basis of why this nation and the world are coming apart at the seams. AND NOT ONE SUSPECTS THIS AS THE CAUSE AND EFFECT!

Padre Pio, a VERY pious and holy Capuchin monk who died in 1968, said that if the demons who inhabit the earth had corporal bodies they would BLOT OUT THE SUN! And, NOT ONE suspects this as the cause of our national disaster!

People, you want peace on earth? Convert to Catholicism this instant and stop dallying around with all the vacuous, idiotic theories of what passes for intellectual rationalizations about the solutions of our crime problems. We have FORGOTTEN what constitutes SIN and the demons are RUNNING RAMPANT WITH ABSOLUTELY NO OPPOSITION. Why? We have forgotten our fundamental reason for existence: To love God with all our strength, with all our heart and with all our minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

And what happens today, but one of Obama's Muslim Brotherhood buddies in a governmental position makes the outrageous claim that America is a Muslim nation! PRAY THE ROSARY AS A START BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
Poor souls, poor souls, so much diatribe about all the psychological and pharmaceutical variations when the sole solution for all the crime actually lands upon the theological position. Do you know that a woman named Gloria Polo was hit by lightning down in Venezuela and died, and was headed for Hell when St. Michael grabbed her by her legs and let her feel the demonic assaults she had earned because of her abortions. The prayers of a pious farmer and her holy mother saved her. When brought back to life, she has gone on to spread the word all over about what is going on with the world. She said Jesus showed her that every time an abortion is committed, something like a seal is opened upon the face of the earth and millions of demons are set loose. Multiply that times 59 million abortions and voila! You've got the factual basis of why this nation is coming apart at the seams. AND NOT ONE SUSPECTS THIS AS THE CAUSE AND EFFECT!

Padre Pio, a VERY pious and holy Capuchin monk who died in 1968, said that if the demons who inhabit the earth had corporal bodies they would BLOT OUT THE SUN! And, NOT ONE suspects this as the cause of our national disaster!

People, you want peace on earth? Convert to Catholicism this instant and stop dallying around with all the vacuous, idiotic theories of what passes for intellectual rationalizations about the solutions of our crime problems. We have FORGOTTEN what constitutes SIN and the demons are RUNNING RAMPANT WITH ABSOLUTELY NO OPPOSITION. Why? We have forgotten our fundamental reason for existence: To love God with all our strength, with all our heart and with all our minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

And what happens today, but one of Obama's Muslim Brotherhood buddies in a governmental position makes the outrageous claim that America is a Muslim nation! PRAY THE ROSARY AS A START BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
I want the politicians to hand this back to the judges. Right now, the judges get patted on the back by prisoners' rights groups, and the politicians get all the blame when released prisoners commit more crimes.

The politicians should send a list of prisoners back to the judges and say: okay, you pick who gets released. It might make the black robes think a little deeper about what they're doing.
It is frightening how little you know about the Plata-Coleman case and conditions in California prisons that have resulted in 350 to 450 deaths per year. Have you ever actually read the case Ms. MacDonald? Have you actually ever witnessed these conditions exacerbated by Republican Pete Wilson who took the prison population from 20,000 to 150,000 in a few short years? He did it so that he could create an image for himself of being "tough on crime."
I suppose our police forces will simply use the new military model of action. Since we banned 'torture', we just kill any high value targets.
What's the evidence of an alleged spike in crime?