Whenever a judge enters the courtroom to take the bench, you’ll typically hear a court officer proclaim: “All Rise!” For centuries, these two words have inspired a sense of awe and respect for our judicial process.
With California facing a Supreme Court order to reduce its prison population by as many as 46,000 inmates, the cash-strapped state will have plenty of options to consider — all of them bad.
The word commonly used to describe a politician who publicly announces he wants to send fewer criminals to prison is “loser”. But back in February there was David Williams, president of Kentucky’s Senate, speaking in favour of a bill that would do just that.
As budget battles in Washington and the states unfold, politicians are striving to achieve the most for their money, pinpointing where they can cut spending without sacrificing service.
Although lowering spending can mean major overhauls to a lot of services, some states have realized that with a little outside-the-box thinking, corrections reform can simultaneously decrease the taxpayer burden and increase the efficacy of criminal justice systems.
This is how bad the economy is in southwestern Virginia: People are wishing they had more criminals in town.
LAST week the Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its prison population after finding that the state’s penal system was so overcrowded that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. What the court didn’t do, however, was provide any guidance about how to do it, giving rise to fears of violent convicts being set free and increasing crime rates.
“Counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession,” it actually dropped last year and violent crime is now at nearly a 40-year low. So said the New York Times last week. But what the Times did not report is precisely why it was so surprised to learn, yet again and probably not for the last time, how the “prevailing expectation” may be limited to people who think as did Marx (Karl maybe, Groucho for sure) that money is the root of all evil.
In a proposal that could allow as many as 5,500 federal inmates to apply for reduced prison terms, the Obama administration on Wednesday backed retroactively lightening some sentences for past crack cocaine convictions.
One day in the visiting room of New York State’s Albion Correctional Facility, LaTrisa Hyman heard her friend and fellow prisoner shriek, “He proposed to me! He proposed to me!” Looking across the room, she saw her friend’s elated new fiancé, still on one knee, saying, “She said yes!” The bride-to-be was beaming.
On Monday, May 16, Chris Epps, commissioner of Mississippi’s department of corrections, sat at a long conference table, grasping a mound of financial documents. He was preparing to head to the state’s penitentiary, an 18,000-acre old cotton farm in the Mississippi River Delta, for the execution of a man convicted of murder nearly two decades ago.