Incarceration

Recently the California Supreme Court ruled that they would release roughly 33,000 inmates [California currently has 143,335 (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-court-prisons-20110524,0,2973297.story)].  On my way home from talking with a friend, I listened to KFI AM 640 talk about the subject, and complain about how terrible it is that prisoners are being released. They said something along the lines of “show me the pictures of the families who were victimized by these people” and then talked about how horrible it would be if they were released.  I feel KFI’s assessment, and Jerry Brown’s “solution” about this distracts from the true issue.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world (for proof see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States), this isn’t because we are a violent nation.  It is because of the War on Drugs.  According to Wikipedia’s sources “The typical mandatory sentence for a first-time drug offense in federal court is five or ten years”.  Imagine that’s five or ten years we have to feed them, house them, and dress him, “Housing one prisoner costs a state between $18,000 and $31,000 annually, $33 per day for the average prisoner and $100 per day for an elderly prisoner” (see link above).  Even Wikipedia attributes the steady rise in prison population to the War on Drugs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate#Causes).  For KFI not to even acknowledge that as a possibility for overcrowding is ignoring the obvious.  Releasing inmates will not solve the problem, but at least some drug users who may never have committed a violent crime in the past, can get out and live their lives.

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About Mitch Miller

-California -Interested in politics, current events, economics, and philosophy
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