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May 17, 2007

Viewing a prison crisis as a human rights abuse

I am please to see that Jonathan Simon is guest-blogging at PrawfsBlawg, where he gets started with this great post entitled "Golden State Guantanamo."  Here is the heart of his start:

One of the least covered and most important areas of California's socio-legal landscape is its bloated and inhumane prison system that now holds approximately 80,000 prisoners more than the 100,000 its 30+ prisons were designed to house. While Guantanamo has rightly been a subject of constant attention in the main stream media and the legal blogosphere, California's prison crisis constitutes a human rights abuse of equal if not greater significance.

Simon has this new book entitled "Governing through Crime," and this blog that goes by the same name.  Simon is great reading in all forms.

May 17, 2007 at 08:15 AM | Permalink


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Of course, we could also look at the foisting of violent criminals upon society by do-gooder judges who thought that prisons were over-crowded as a human rights abuse too.

Posted by: federalist | May 17, 2007 11:12:52 AM

Federalist's comment would at least have an inkling of viability if the majority of prisoners were incarcerated for violent offenses. The overwhelming majority, at least in the federal system, are serving draconian sentences for nonviolent, and often victimless, offenses.

The better rebuttal is that releasing too many prisoners would imperil the nation's reign as the most accomplished immuring power in the world (in both absolute, and per capita terms I might add).

Ah, Land of the Free, with millions of citizens whose rights are only cabined by restrictions related to legitimate penological interests.

Posted by: TheCrux | May 17, 2007 2:25:21 PM

"federalist," who is saying that criminals should be released from prison. Saying that a person should not be raped in prison does not imply (even remotely) that prisoners should therefore be released.

I have read many of your posts on this blog and have to wonder whether you suffer from loose association. I am not qualified to make such a diagnosis, but as many people in prison are there because of mental health issues, I would suggest you have yourself checked out - lest you reap the prisons you have sown.

Posted by: Mike | May 17, 2007 4:41:41 PM

Given that one "solution" to "overcrowding" is early release of the incarcerated (a "solution" that has been imposed far too often), I thought that pointing out that such a "solution" can result (and has resulted) in unspeakable atrocities to completely innocent people was germane.

And no, I don't think that prisoners should be raped, and I think that prisons should do a lot more to prevent such brutality. The rapists should be prosecuted and should spend the rest of their lives behind bars--at a minimum.

Posted by: federalist | May 17, 2007 5:58:46 PM

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