Friday, May 27, 2011

"Later" turns out to be "now" for California prisons

There's a new conversation at subrealism about the Supreme Court decision on California prisons. Too many prisoners, too little space, too few services. (Services, if you're concerned about taxpayer dollars, are things like just enough medical care to keep the state out of "cruel and unusual punishment" territory if administered properly.)

We've known the extent of the problem for some years, thanks to Judge Thelton Henderson's constant admonitions, but as a state we kind of dragged our societal feet until, oh, right this minute. Shifting prisoners to the county jails and declaring victory is not going to work well, as there is overcrowding and underfunding there too, and the sheriffs are pretty upset about the whole thing. Add potential layoffs to the mix and it's even less pretty.

ProfGeo comment is at the "new conversation" link above, with some informative discussion from CNu and the crowd as well. Please check it out.


CNu said...

The coonservative element tosses in it's $.02....,

'Most of them,' wrote Scalia, 'will not be prisoners with medical conditions or severe mental illness; and many will undoubtedly be fine physical specimens who have developed intimidating muscles pumping iron in the prison gym.'

ProfGeo said...

Since you rarely have actual typos (save apostrophe usage, ahem), I let the second word's spelling stand and considered myself duly warned about what I was about to read. So I clicked through and there was Larry Elder's best grin, and an ad for an Ann Coulter book, and a photo of Scalia sandwiched between like a slab of overdone ham between two slices of marble bread.

I was briefly tempted to log in over at and comment, but in the spirit of Congressman Barney Frank I no longer choose to argue with dining room tables. ("Hello, table, shall I install the extra leaf for our holiday dinner? What is your considered opinion?")

I find it exceedingly odd that Scalia wrote, "Three years of law school and familiarity with pertinent Supreme Court precedents...give no insight whatsoever into the management of social institutions..." [emphasis added]

This is the same Scalia who had no issues at all with tackling the intricate social aspects of text messaging back in April 2010.

Justice Scalia, does all this, in the final analysis, indeed "go right to the other thing"?

CNu said...


everything else is merely conversation....,


ProfGeo said...

Given that Scalia is, by his comments, at least intimidated by the muscular white men who are most of the subjects in the photos admitted as evidence, we may not be able to say that his was a purely racist dissent. Darn!

I'm adding a new thread here about the latest Crooked Timber thread on the US prison system.