Patterico's Pontifications

2/6/2006

Los Angeles Times Editors Proven Wrong Yet Again

Filed under: Crime,Public Policy,Race — Patterico @ 9:16 pm



Last year, I mocked Los Angeles Times editors for a hopelessly naive editorial which said:

The Supreme Court made the right decision Wednesday in all but overturning California’s policy of housing new prison inmates in cells based on their race. Clearly, the state cannot classify people solely on that basis in the year 2005, and it would be preposterous for state prison officials to continue arguing that there is a compelling reason to do so.

Tell that to the victims of the latest race riots in L.A. jails:

[V]iolence among prisoners has nearly doubled in the past three years at the North County Correctional Facility, the site of a weekend riot that left one inmate dead and dozens injured.

Inmate-on-inmate assaults at the Castaic facility rose from 351 in 2003 to 614 last year.

Most of the incidents were racially motivated, including Saturday’s riot by more than 2,000 black and Latino inmates, sheriff’s officials said.

. . . .

[Deputy Alba] Yates said the incident involved approximately 170 Latino and 35 black inmates who “divided on racial lines and fought.”

I want the races to get along. But, as I said last year, incarcerated criminals are not always the most enlightened folks. Many are violent racists. This is not ideal — it’s reality.

The editors’ pie-in-the-sky mentality is killing people. And inmates don’t want it. A note from a Latino inmate says:

No disrespect, but if Blacks come in the dorms we will fight. We do not want to go against the Sherriffs! Please separate us by race for everyone’s safety. Thank you for your time. Sincerly, All Inmates

Preposterous!

21 Responses to “Los Angeles Times Editors Proven Wrong Yet Again”

  1. Not sure what your point is. CA should segragate populations when they are incarcerated?

    Please answer yes or no. It’s a pretty basic question.

    [If the experience of prison or jail officials tells them that a significant number of prisoners will die if not segregated, and if the facts bear that out, and if the segregation is purely for the prisoners’ protection, and if the prisoners want segregation for their own protection, then yes. Read my earlier post for a fuller explication. Maybe you’re okay if prisoners die because of unrealistic ideals, but I’m not. (Are you? Answer yes or no, it’s a pretty basic question.) Contrary to the beliefs of some, most prosecutors understand prisoners are human beings. They should not be subjected to death unless it occurs through due process of law. Do you disagree?? Please answer yes or no, it’s a pretty basic question. Also, care to respond to your Joe Wilson misstatements on the other thread? Please answer yes or no (etc.) — Patterico]

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  2. The editors of the LA Times are going to fight to the last drop of someone else’s blood for their feel good policy.

    perfectsense (024110)

  3. To correct myself: I meant “segregate…”

    To get a more accurate read on your point: How is the editorial position of the LA Time “killing people”?

    Is the CA penal system strictly adhering to the guidelines set forth by the LA Times? Does the paper have that much clout?

    Or, is this a case of hyperbole on your part? Might the CA penal system be able to handle prisoners on its own, without the guiding hand of the LA Times?

    Please, answer in honest and frank terms.

    [The naive mentality of the editors is shared by the USSC, whose rulings in this area are killing people. So the pie-in-the-sky mentality shared by the editors is killing people. — Patterico]

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  4. From what I understand, this situation is already addressed, when we examine other parts of the prison population.

    Almost never is a child molester or pedophile placed in the general prison population. Why? Because that person’s life-span will probably be measured in minutes or hours.

    Is it “segregation” that such prisoners are kept apart from others? (Notice that such persons are not necessarily dangers to the rest of the community, but are themselves endangered.)

    From this, it is clear that, if a prisoner’s life is likely to be endangered, and they are willing to be separated from the rest of the population, then such segregation already occurs in the penal system. Would the LA Times argue that such “segregation” should not occur in the case of child molesters? Why, then, should it not also occur in the context of blacks versus whites versus Latinos?

    Lurking Observer (0188fc)

  5. Re: 3: Thanks for clearing this up. In your legalistic manner. The editors have a position which aligns with the USSC’s, so by extension the editors are killing people. [No, their *mentality* is killing people. — P] Your tautological reasoning here is really weak. I can lay this out for you, if need be.

    As for re:1: You dodge and evade a direct answer. In fact, your answer is a question directed back to me. Not sufficient. I just want a yes or no answer to a basic question. [You got it.]

    As for Joe Wilson, I responded in the earlier thread. I referred to his detailed letter to the 9/11 Commission, in which he categorically refuted the dox which lay at the heart of the Administration’s argument for the case of Iraq seeking yellow cake. [And I gave a link to the letter which showed it said the opposite of what you claimed.] And which the Administration publicly admitted were without merit. The Administration’s admission speak’s for itself.

    I think you should understand that Wilson’s report to the CIA, re: his Niger trip, was rendered verbally. This may open the way for a certain amount of ambiguity in his findings. [His letter is written and refutes you.] And, certainly, the fact that there were contacts between Niger gov. reps and Iraq reps, as verbally conveyed by Wilson, leads to another layer of ambiguity.

    The administration’s refutation of the president’s SOTU address, however, is unambiguous. It is also unprecedented.

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  6. Patterico:
    What a buffoonish post this is. Of course, segregating prisoners by race will eliminate violence in the prison system, won’t it? There’ll be no violent deaths whatsoever! Hey–here’s an idea–let’s impose segregation everywhere else there’s violent racial conflict. Like the LA public schools. The Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi public schools. And the lunchrooms! And the buses! [People are killed in race riots in school lunchrooms all the time!! — P] Then we’ll be living in paradise! After all, this note from a Latino prisoner proves it!
    (Here’s a question: When was the last time you took an incarcerated prisoner at his word?) [This guy has a better handle on what jail is like than the editors of the LAT — or apparently you, for that matter. — P]

    For you to accuse the LA Times editors of “killing people” is your most unintelligent comment yet. [Strawman. I said their *mentality* is killing people. and it is. Criticize what I actually wrote, how would that be?] Is this the mode of reasoning what you picked up in law school?

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  7. I thought of you when I heard about the riots.

    As for the anti-segregation folks, how do you teach tolerance to a bunch of incarcerated gang members?

    Patricia (2cc180)

  8. Geez, Mikekoshi and jmaharry, how about going down to your adult education center and signing up for a course on reading comprehension? Patterico’s positionon on prison segregation was perfectly clear to me.

    I’ll admit that the part about the mentality of the editors killing prisoners threw me for a second, but a simple bit of inference cleared it up. You too could learn to understand these more complex sorts of writing with a bit of training and honest effort.

    Doc Rampage (f06a6e)

  9. [People are killed in race riots in school lunchrooms all the time!! P]
    Nice way to avoid the issue–I guess you really did go to law school. Just to remind you, I also mentioned southern schools and buses. But I guess there was never any racial conflict in any of those places.

    [Strawman. I said their *mentality* is killing people. and it is. Criticize what I actually wrote, how would that be?]
    Nobody can recognize a strawman as well as someone who builds them. [Translation: I am rub-ber you are glue . . .] In any event, saying that their “mentality” is killing people is just as buffoonish. [That’s not an argument, it’s a label. Of course, the murderers are *primarily* responsible for the killings, but it’s still undeniably true that inmates are getting killed in part because of a pie-in-the-sky mentality shared by the editors. — Patterico]

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  10. [This guy has a better handle on what jail is like than the editors of the LAT or apparently you, for that matter. P]
    Of course he does. And he’s a disinterested observer, too, according to you.

    Since your such a fan of those who have inside knowledge, why have you forgotten to mention the causes actually cited by the experts: overcrowding and inadequate staffing.

    Baca, in LAT: “Those inmates who remain in jail are part of the highest inmate-to-guard ratio of any major county jail system in the United States, Baca said.
    “In some instances, inmates outnumber deputies 100 to 1, the sheriff said.
    “New York City, for example, has a local jail population of about 15,000 and a staff of 12,000 to watch them. Los Angeles County has more than 20,000 inmates and a staff of 5,000, Baca said.”
    Or is “informed” opinion only meaningful to you if it upholds your own prejudices?

    [How interesting that you didn’t quote Baca on the issue we’re actually discussing: separating inmates by race. Why don’t you quote him on that? Go ahead. We’ll wait . . . — Patterico]

    Mikekoshi (f85090)

  11. jmaharry, the issue isn’t whether the LATimes has influence on the policies adopted by the State of California, but whether the LATimes advocacy of a particular policy is responsible.

    Mikekoshi, so, you really don’t appreciate the difference between the state’s interests when it operates a public school system and its interests when it operates a prison to hold society’s most violent members? Do you really think that this is just like the Topeka Kansas school board arguing that separate but equal really is what it purports to be? The equal protection analysis isn’t really that hard. Racial classification, so we apply strict scrutiny, which requires a compelling interest and a policy closely tailored to achieve that interest. Hmmm, we have prison populations which divide themselves into racially identified groups, each of which threatens the other with violence, solely on the basis of race (yes, we do accept the factual findings of the State’s policy-makers in the absence of evidence to the contrary, and your cynicism unsupported by facts doesn’t count as evidence). So, is your point that the State’s interest in protecting the lives of inmates isn’t compelling or that separating racially motivated combatants on the same basis as the lines of conflict isn’t a closely tailored solution to the problem?

    TNugent (6128b4)

  12. I understand and agree with Patterico’s position. There isn’t an acceptable alternative in this case. My impression was that SCOTUS had recognized the safety exception, though – they put a common sense caveat on their ideals.

    I would liken it somewhat to Katrina, though. You can look up the line at more original causes of the disaster, or you can accuse the people trying to contain/control the damage of botching the effort. Either way, you’re not necessarily wrong. But the seeds for this disaster were sown long before the court decision.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  13. Re Katrina, I am referring to the many contributing causes. I am aware that it was a natural disaster. But race riots, though not Acts of God, precipitate from almost as many incremental causes as storms, and can be foreseen but rarely with much accuracy, or prevented entirely. In either case it’s impossible to identify a discrete cause, but a look back to long-term policies would be useful for preventing a repeat.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  14. The segregated south is not a good comparison to prisons.

    Inmates are, in many senses, wards of the state, whom the government has an obligation to protect and treat well (see, among other things, the Eighth Amendment).

    Thus, deliberately putting them into dangerous situations, including those situations sparked by racial tensions, is a violation of the government’s obligations toward them, just as surely as never feeding them would be.

    The Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  15. I think Mikekoshi needs a little time in Pitchess to get a taste of what actually goes on in there … and not the view from the “guilty liberal” ivory tower.

    MOG (4d4be8)

  16. I feel some ambivalence on this.

    Maybe the best way to explain it is to put it in a “devil’s advocate” format:

    Isn’t one of the goals in long term incarceration supposed to be rehabilitation for return to society? If so, can that ever hope to be accomplished if prisoners spend their years in a setting segregated like this and for this reason? Might not there be an argument that society as a whole would be better served by making those individuals – they who have committed offenses against society so severe as to get them long segregated away from society itself – all learn to live together fully integrated by race, creed, etc? Even, perhaps, if some convicted felons die trying?

    (Of course, if they’re all in for life w/o parole, then the above is moot.)

    jim (a9ab88)

  17. Takes a lot to get a straight answer out of you. Still, it’s good to know we’ve got government officials who believe in segregating people according to race.

    As for your lies and distortions about what Wilson wrote or didn’t write, here is a quote from his letter to the 9/11 commission:
    “I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur.”

    I call that refuting the veracity of documents in question (which is what this disagreement is all about). You say that it supports the veracity of the documents in question.

    I am not sure how you arrived at this conclusion, but you are clearly wrong.

    jmaharry (74c3ec)

  18. […] When reading last night’s post about separating races in jail and race riots, please don’t snap back at me until you click the links — especially the one for my previous post criticizing last year’s editorial. If you didn’t read that post already, please do so now. I make the case more completely there than my Treo allows me to do now. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Click the Links (421107)

  19. I unequivocally agree with your post Patterico. If it will save lives in that situation, separate them.

    I also like your insightful comments biwah and TNugent.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  20. Speaking of Katrina, I remember NPR delicately stating that once people finally got out of NO, they were being put in evacuation centers with “their own cultural group.” I assume this means racial segregation?

    It is not possible, or even desirable, to demand a Platonic ideal of racial integration in the face of crowds of angry jail inmates or crowds of angry victims of natural disaster.

    Patricia (2cc180)

  21. Sorry to keep this going, but jmaharry is being, to be charitable, a little disingenuous.

    He quotes (slectively) from Wilson letter:
    “I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur.”

    In fact a more complete quote, showing the context of this quote is:
    “I never claimed to have “debunked” the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur.”

    Wilson says himself in this letter that he did NOT debunk the claim in the SOTU about uranium and Africa.

    Now perhaps jmaharry is not referring the claim that Wilson debunked the SOTU statement, but rather to the claim, made widely in the media, though never QUITE by wilson himself, that he had shown the Niger documents to be forgeries because the names and dates didn’t match. Well Wilson doesn’t much address that question in the letter, what he says is that the transaction described in the (forged) documents cannot and did not occur. Well as soon as it was shown that these documents were forgeries we didn’t need Joe Wilson to let us know that the transaction didn’t happen. The Senate Committee, of course, addressed the question of Wilson and the forgeries.

    “The former ambassador also told Committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article… which said, “among the Envoy’s conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.’” Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the “dates were wrong and the names were wrong” when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports. The former ambassador said that he may have “misspoken” to the reporter when he said he concluded that the documents were “forged.” He also said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct and may have thought he had seen the names himself.”

    So there you have it in Joe Wilson’s own words. He never once claimed to have refute the famous 16 words. He misspoke to reporters who claimed that he had shown that the documents were forgeries.

    He never publicly stated that he had refuted the documents on question. He could not have refuted them because he did not see those documents until after they had been shown to be forgeries. All he says in the letter is that he claimed that the transaction described in the document had not taken place.

    I suspect that our host was using Wilsons own statements, rather than lies and distortions, to come to the conclusion that Wilson had not refuted the documents.

    nittypig (4c1c43)


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