No taxes for new prisons
As the state seeks to reduce crowding, voters are backing sentencing modifications for three-strikes and other nonviolent drug offenses. The economy plays an important role along with the realization of the senseless war on drugs and tough sentencing laws that have not worked out as expected. Tough-on-crime policies and tough sentencing laws that began in the 1980s during the crack cocaine epidemic and the three-strikes law of 1994 targeted non-violent drug and drug-related offenders with petty thefts and residential robberies. The High Court has ordered the release of 33,000 prisoners due to cruel and unusual health and safety punishment where prisoners are tripled. One inmate death at 8 days that could have been avoided with proper medical care was the highlight.
With the further realization that non-violent prisoners, most for drug-related crimes, are being institutionalized, where addiction becomes a suffering that is much more difficult to escape, where gangs and tattoos become the answer, spitting displaced, alienated inmates back into the neighborhood without any job opportunities or new skill sets equates to the need for more and more prisons. The public has had enough on both sides of party lines, with majorities of Democrats and Republicans voting by more than 60 percent to change sentencing for crimes like shoplifting and other petty crimes rather than raising taxes to build more prisons. 70% said they would have no problem with early release without sentencing changes for nonviolent offenders, Washington poll.
There are now 33 state prisons in California. The most in the nation. California also has the worst recidivism rate in the nation, with more than 70 percent of released inmates returning to prison within three years. However, Nevada has the lowest return rate for released inmates because they are assigned to sanitation jobs after their release.
American Viewpoint’s Linda DeVille said, “Voters are looking for solutions that don’t raise taxes and take money away from education.”
It is high time our politicians reversed course. An intelligent approach to crime must include redemption and common sense about sentencing laws that address the prison system as a whole. It makes no sense to send a non-violent drug addict to prison where violent criminals indoctrinate them into gangs. With Nevada as an example leading the way with smart crime programs to place released inmates in sanitation jobs, the rest of the country, starting with California, needs to catch up.