Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spare the rod, soil the child?

As in save the bars enclosing California's exploding prison population and condemn our children to the worst educational opportunity in the US. Yep, after the $12B cut in educational spending proposed to fix the California budget crisis, California will likely rank 50th out of 50 states in per child educational spending. (Does anyone have the data for Puerto Rico or Guam?)

A Federal judicial panel recently ruled that California's prison system (nearing 2X capacity) violates the Eight amendment - prohibiting cruel and inhuman punishment - and recommends a 33% reduction of non-violent offenders. Of course "we" plan to appeal this federal order to reduce our budget, and the suffering and recidivism that extreme overcrowding produces.

What a quandary - whether it is better to lock up a "3rd striker" for twenty to life for shoplifting, or layoff our childrens' teachers.

And don't forget the incarcerated geriatrics receiving millions of dollars of drug and medical treatments - while shackled to their wheelchairs. A recent study predicted that elderly or infirm prisoners will consume 33% of the $6B prison budget in the next few years. I sure sleep a lot safer at night knowing they're not on the streets.

No comments: