Thingish Things

Ollie Ollie In Come Free

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - May• 23•11

The Supreme Court just ruled that up to 46,000 prison inmates in California must be released from jail because of over-crowding conditions. It sounds like one of those crazy court decision stories where news of the ruling is followed by the words: “today’s decision is sure to be appealed.”  But not in this case.  This is the Supreme Court.

Three thoughts:

1. What the heck is happening with California?

2. Those prisons must be really crowded for this Supreme Court to rule that way.

3. There are plenty of empty jail beds in New York.  Upstate communities are fighting to keep half empty prisons open. Hmmmm.

UPDATE:  The Court seems bitterly divided over this decision.  This quote from Justice Scalia is striking in its bite: “the coda is nothing more than a ceremonial washing of the hands — making it clear for all to see, that if the terrible things sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order do happen, they will be none of this court’s responsibility.”

And here’s a quote from Chief Justice Roberts: “The three-judge court ordered the premature release of approximately 46,000 criminals — the equivalent of three Army divisions.

A New York Times story on the decision is linked here.




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  1. Your Friend says:

    I guess it’s too late to convince you that there are too many people in jail in this country, huh? It used to be that I could say that the only country with a higher percentage of people in jail was Russia. Apparently we blew by that in the last decade and now, WE’RE NUMBER ONE! There are certain lists you don’t want to lead.

  2. Your Friend says:

    Enforcement isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that incarceration simply doesn’t work. Recidivism keeps a huge percentage of the population behind bars. Prevention is the key and electronic monitoring devices are probably best at monitoring recidivists. Very 1984, but cheaper than the largest penal system in the world. And of course, some laws need to go, but let’s leave that alone for now. We won’t agree.

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