California is releasing tens of thousands of inmates after a ruling by the Supreme Court on Monday. No, they haven’t been wrongfully imprisoned and suddenly found innocent due to some new DNA technology.
It’s just that the prisons are overcrowded.
A sane solution would be to build more prisons. Unfortunately, there’s apparently not enough money to build more steel bars. So, we should totally tax the rich, because even though they pay the vast, vast majority of our taxes, they still aren’t paying enough, because new prisons aren’t getting built!
Another logical option would be to spend less money per prisoner, so that the savings could go toward building new facilities. The average prisoner in the State of California costs over $48,000 annually, with about $16,000 of that going to health care, mental health, and dental costs.
Prisoners, convicted felons, probably have better health care than you do.
Seriously, does your health insurance cover free hormone replacement therapy for you if you happen to be transgendered? California prisons do. And soon, they may even provide gender reassignment surgery as well.
So. We have a system in which convicted felons will be released from prisons because we can’t afford to keep them behind bars. That is scary. That is enough make anyone support a politician (cough, cough, Jerry Brown) who says he will support building new prisons.
Governor Jerry Brown came into California with a huge prison problem. There are too many inmates in too little space. The inmates have better health insurance than the average American, so the solution seems to be obvious – give inmates fewer benefits so that we can afford to incarcerate them all.
What did our newly elected governor do in the past few months in office? He raised the benefits of prison guards, so that they could bank vacation days until the day that they retire. California, by the way, is the only state that determines pension pay with only one year’s salary. That means that the state employees can save up their vacation days indefinitely, cash them out on their last year, and take home a pension for the next 0 to 50 years based on their inflated last year’s pay.
This is why I’m incredulous every time I hear a political ad claiming to be for the people. I’m too jaded. I’ve seen too many cases like this California prison case, where the issue is made out to be that there’s not enough money.
No! That is not the case. The money is just badly spent. And because the money has been badly spent, I will be keeping my kids close at hand.
I can’t, in good conscience, let them out with convicted felons roaming the streets.
Image via Freedom to Marry/Flickr