Patterico's Pontifications


“Realignment”: California Passes the Buck on Prisoners

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 7:33 am

Californians, you thought that the Ninth Circuit order to release state prisoners was going to create danger? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

“Realignment” is a Jerry Brown brainchild that basically mandates that a huge chunk of people sentenced to state prison be housed in the county jails. The counties are initially given a chunk of money to deal with the cost, but there is no guarantee that will continue, meaning that the state is essentially shifting the burden for housing thousands of its inmates to the counties.

Here in Los Angeles, because the jails are already overcrowded, the sheriff is going to have wide discretion to release these prisoners into the community, regardless of the nominal length of their sentences. Thousands will be placed on home detention with electronic monitoring, and thousands more will be simply released.

Even the Los Angeles Times is appalled, characterizing the notion as passing the buck without passing the bucks:

[B]eginning Oct. 1, newly arriving state parolees will be supervised by county probation officers, and new non-serious convicts will go to county jails instead of state prisons. The transfer is forever, but the budget provides funding for only nine months.

After that, who knows? Perhaps Sacramento will have pangs of conscience and allocate more money. Perhaps GOP lawmakers will change their minds on the tax measures, or perhaps they will send voters a constitutional amendment that requires the funding transfer but does not include the taxes. And perhaps not. Counties may find they have no way to pay for job training, mental health, substance abuse or other rehabilitation programs for the ex-offenders who will be coming home. Or even for jail.

There must be something about that first flight to Sacramento that makes newly elected state lawmakers — many of them former county and city officials — forget that their constituents do not distinguish between state and county failures. If realignment is to become more than the latest California exercise in passing the buck (while keeping the bucks), state officials must step up with a constitutional commitment to funding.

Which, of course, means (to the editors’ way of thinking) new taxes.

Well, crime was going down for a while. Don’t expect that to continue.

Hooray for California!

46 Responses to ““Realignment”: California Passes the Buck on Prisoners”

  1. We still have a little room here in Colorado for the sane Californians, Patterico.

    Both of you.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. Why is it that to the MFM and leftists, the answer to ANY problem is the same – raise taxes?

    JD (6d8a47)

  3. I hear Hotel Arpaio has some vacancies.

    Milhouse (9a4c23)

  4. In the old days, the newspapers would publish a pie chart showing how the state’s money is being spent. The funny thing was that very little went into law enforcement and prisons. You know where most goes? Schools and other social welfare programs. But hey, we’re a Blue State so what do you expect.

    AZ Bob (f67ff0)

  5. I am helping our office get up to speed on this fiasco. Obviously, I hope no one is becomes a victim as a result of this “experiment”, but I highly doubt this will be the case. I fear that many innocent people will be hurt to save the state some money.

    Of course, the cost to the counties will be significantly higher, not only due to the additional cost to house “state” prisoners and supervise the new “mandatory supervision” that follows a commitment to “county prison”, but also the significantly increased cost of prosecuting these same criminals for new crimes committed when they otherwise would have been locked up.

    nine-headed caesar (cd61f1)

  6. AZ Bob – in the last several years, it has become true that California spends more on the state prisons than on higher education.

    Sure, more gets spent on elementary and secondary schools. But the voters of the state overwhelmingly supported a measure requiring 40% of the state budget to be spent that way, as long ago as 1988, in the same election in which the state overwhelmingly voted for the first president bush.

    aphrael (5d993c)

  7. Los Angeles is already very crimey I think because of the wretchedness and the squalor and the hopelessness but it’s gonna get worse and worse. It’s baked in the cake. Our geriatric dirty socialist ponce governor can only accelerate the process marginally.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  8. Here is a thought. Why not launch a pre-emptive strike against these criminals before they hurt someone?

    What happened to the good old days when people simply took out the trash without any help from government?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  9. #8

    They might be coming back Michael, this strikes me as having a lot of potential for unintended consequences, a la the policy changes on prisoner treatment in the WoT, which resulted in an informal “take no prisoners” policy in the field.

    Welcome to CA, the new Wild West. CA is insolvent, resolving that is going to be painful.

    “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”

    LarryD (feb78b)

  10. They might be coming back Michael, this strikes me as having a lot of potential for unintended consequences, a la the policy changes on prisoner treatment in the WoT, which resulted in an informal “take no prisoners” policy in the field.

    Bill Levinson pointed out that vigilantism in Europe is a reasonable and necessary response to Islamic lawlessness.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  11. “…Perhaps Sacramento will have pangs of conscience and allocate more money…”

    …sure, they’re going to reallocate funds from PE Union membership benefits, and the ususal Left Wing/Feel Good Groups, to doing something that will promote and/or ensure the safety of the residents of CA.

    These are the kinds of things you find in the LAT that leaves you breathless (you laugh for five-minutes and you’ll be breathless too)!

    The Blind leading The Blind, into an Abyss!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  12. The Right to Self-Defense…

    Incorporated against the States in McDonald by SCOTUS.
    Establish a close relationship with a friendly, neighborhood FFL; and Practice, Practice, Practice!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  13. well, this would explain why they want a long gun registry in this state, and to ban open carry…

    we wouldn’t want to hurt any of the poor dears who just got out of prison.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  14. Michael E.,

    As you would expect, I reject vigilantism.

    Patterico (869460)

  15. Me too unless the cops refuse to do anything.

    Ahmagoatfarker accusing us of supporting military dictatorships………..coming from an islamic pussy that is rich.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  16. Comment by Patterico — 9/22/2011 @ 1:05 pm

    Self-defense is not vigilantism.
    Just need a “fly-paper strategery“.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  17. There is something to the idea of caning and public stocks for misdemeanors, leaving incarceration for real criminals. But I guess there would be some pushback. Maybe it would fly if we called it Sharia.

    Kevin M (4eb9c8)

  18. That is crazy I think other surrounding states that dont have a heavy load of cons( or lesser) can be paid with existing funds. The reason why California cant effectively do this is because the taxes are so high. More income comes from more existing or NEW businesses. Thats why taxing is always an option to the left. They cant find jobs. And they dont understand that mentality. If you want money to pay for these things. Get people to work. This has been a problem even before OBAMA came in. Nobody on the left wants to give anything up Right now it seems bad. 10 15 years from now no.

    Securitygearguy (a47bc3)

  19. I am truly undecided whether sgg is spam or not. If he is, that is scary credible compared to most of what we get. I’m leaving it for now, but if he’d comment again in response to this, I’d feel much better.

    IOW, sorry if you’re real dude, but right now I’m just not sure.

    [on a related note, imdw is furious at not being able to run roughshod here as he has for so many years.]

    Stashiu3 (601b7d)

  20. “Why is it that to the MFM and leftists, the answer to ANY problem is the same – raise taxes?

    Comment by JD — 9/22/2011 @ 8:08 am”

    Because it is a core leftist belief that the vast majority of people who earn wages and salaries use their money for Wrong Things. Thus, any excuse to deprive them of some of it is necessarily a Good Thing.

    C. S. P. Schofield (b8ee74)

  21. Farming-out incarceration?
    IIRC, the CA Legislature in its infinite wisdom has severely restricted the ability of the Dept-Corrections from farming out convicts to other states, since most of the venues available to house them are privately-run correctional facilities licensed by their host state.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  22. Ya know the death penalty is a tool of the KKK……..that is right that white supremacist dying was the result of the KKK

    Gotta love the lefturds who oppose privatization complaining of oligarchys.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  23. This sort of news must surely be discouraging to all those who are working hard, day in and day out, trying to bring criminals to justice and vice versa.

    Hang in there, Patterico.

    Beldar (429057)

  24. So, now that the state prisons are limited in the extent they are allowed to overcrowd those prisons, the geniuses in Sacramento have shifted the problem to the counties. Now the lawyers will have to go after all counties.

    Merry go round, round and round!

    Anon Y. Mous (cb1134)

  25. DohBiden it goes better if you say, “Yuck Fou”.

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  26. If the left had their way people like Timothy Geithner would run the world.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  27. “not completely brain dead”

    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  28. A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky’s Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called “Meals to Die For.”


    peedoffamerican (ee1de0)

  29. California needs a plan to deal with what will be a sharp increase in crime under this new plan. Some of my friends and I came up with a plan Sunday night. Now all we need to do is execute.

    Did I say that?

    glenn (2a84e9)

  30. Michael E.,

    As you would expect, I reject vigilantism.

    We are not there yet.

    But Europe is almost there, as Bill L. explained in his IsraPundit post.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  31. Why not cut a deal with Mexico? I’m sure the Mexicans would house the inmates for half of what California spends per inmate per year. A win-win! Jobs for Mexico and a substantial budget reductions for the California taxpayer.

    cubanbob (ad2274)

  32. 33- Well, seeing as we would most likely be sending a large number of their own citizens back to them under that proposal, they might feel that they’re being used (Oh, Boo Hoo).

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (ab2eca)

  33. @ peedoffamerican (9/22/2011 @ 5:52 pm — #28): Whitmire is indeed a Democrat, but he’s also the dean of the Texas Senate (i.e., its longest-serving member), and he is a friend of, and respected by, every member of either party.

    My respect for Whitmire skyrocketed in September 2003 when — in an act of political courage, honesty, and statesmanship — he broke ranks with every other Democratic state senator and returned to Houston from Albuquerque, N.M., whence they had all fled to destroy a state senate quorum and thereby prevent passage of the first legislative-passed redistricting map of the 21st Century. A capable lawyer as well as legislator, Whitmire did so upon realizing that his own party’s election law lawyers were simply deliberately misleading the truant senators about how things were going in their federal court lawsuit when he read for himself the transcript of the first major hearing of the case.

    He’s one of a dying breed of Democrats, alas.

    Beldar (6e15ea)

  34. This post has more of the story that I linked to just above, including the bit about how the scales fell from his eyes.

    The “condemned man’s last meal” was an old tradition that I’m glad to see done away with. I’m not advocating torture or advocating starvation, but I’m entirely satisfied with the notion that their last mean is whatever the cafeteria was serving that day, because the ways in which these murderers are “special” are very bad ways of being “special.” Society owes them the bare minimum of human respect that a human being is owed just by being alive, and that’s more respect than any of them paid their victims. The rest, they’ve forfeited.

    Beldar (6e15ea)

  35. POA, what an interesting story.

    A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky’s Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called “Meals to Die For.”

    Read more:


    I disagree with Whitmire and Beldar on this. I think it’s a nice gesture of humanity, and a showing of what we are, as a people, to exercise as much grace as we can get away with. That murderer got a safe prison cell, tons of appeals, clergy, and a final meal as a gesture of compassion.

    Appeals to what the victim got are obviously irrelevant, as we are not trying to reach parity with wrong doers. And I don’t think this is about making ourselves feel less guilty for the sin in executing someone. If anything, it’s probably very painful and bittersweet for the killer realize this is the last time he will enjoy anything.

    It’s just one of those gut level acts of charity.

    It’s just a shame some idiot administrator let this guy abuse the charity. They should have just told him ‘no’ if he couldn’t be reasonable.

    Not that I’m worried about this issue. compared to the shame that Mr Byrd was murdered, it obviously doesn’t matter at all.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  36. Dustin, I take your point. I agree completely that this is trivial compared to any one of the crimes these murderers have committed.

    But regarding humanity, charity, grace, and compassion: I don’t see these as qualities for the state to give or withhold as a general rule. Rather, they are matters of individual judgment. I’m not second-guessing yours, and I recognize that your viewpoint has much to commend it.

    Mine is based on the view that an execution ought to be as dispassionate and unsentimental as possible. Grave, solemn, constrained — all those are fine. Nor do I object to other execution rituals such as “last words,” or the provision and involvement of clergy upon request.

    We agree these privileges are undeserved; if I understand you, you think that’s beside the point, and this is something we do to reaffirm our humanity, charity, etc., for ourselves. I understand that argument too.

    Perhaps we disagree as to whether it disrespects the process (and the gravity of the underlying crimes, and the harm to the victims) to permit even this trivial form of special privileges. I think it does. The “last meal” is just too redolent of a picnic, a treat, a reward. There ought be no whiff of celebrity or celebration encouraged by the state.

    At bottom, the “last meal” is an attractive romantic tradition. But there ought be nothing romantic in these proceedings. Grim professionalism is what’s due.

    Beldar (6e15ea)

  37. Oh, I also meant to say, re your assertion that “this is [not] about making ourselves feel less guilty for the sin in executing someone”:

    I agree completely with that, too. That’s an insightful question, but I think you’ve answered it correctly.

    This subject — yes or no on maintaining the “last meal” tradition — interests me because the scatter of opinions on it will reflect the some fundamental presuppositions among death penalty supporters.

    Beldar (6e15ea)

  38. that ought to have read: “will reflect some differing fundamental presuppositions among death penalty supporters.”

    Beldar (6e15ea)

  39. Well, crime was going down for a while.

    Ah, actually…. I’m pretty sure the slack was all getting taken up by the California Legislature. Taken as a whole, crime in Cali has been remarkably stable for the last 40-odd years.

    There’s just been far less media fanfare about the Legislature’s criminally incompetent actions.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  40. ==Comment by Beldar — 9/23/2011 @ 11:20 pm==

    I read this comment along with your following one and Dustin’s earlier one. After doing so I realized that the last meal ritual, and its several possible larger meanings within the execution day protocol, had not really ever entered my mind before. Now, I have thought about it.

    Back when the last meal “romantic tradition” started it was always mentioned in the execution news stories almost as human interest, wasn’t it? I think most people now accept that there were some very dark days in death penalty criminal justice –occasionally influenced by local political agendas, sometimes brutal crooked LE, questionable “confessions”, and testimony which often hinged on unreliable eyewitnesses. (Those were the days before Miranda and DNA evidence and shiny crime labs and cell tower tracking and surveillance cameras in every store and on every street corner.) And I wonder if the general public deep down knew all this and while hoping and wanting the system to work, they also feared that sometimes innocents might actually be being executed. Was the “compassion”, or perhaps the “circus act” of allowing a requested last meal in fact a way of wordlessly addressing this unconscious public angst?

    Way fewer death penalty cases are prosecuted these days. When they are, the evidence collected and processed on bodies and at crime scenes, along with other forensic proof –all of which is presented in costly, fair trials with appeals –results in a reasonable public belief that they’ve convicted the right guy. It also brings to the fore and provides a realistic sense of what many victims suffered and endured in the hours and minutes preceding their deaths–and it is often horrific. For these reasons I do suspect that the “reward” of giving a favorite (last) meal to death row convicts in their last hours is far less acceptable to many taxpaying citizens than it once was.

    elissa (451af6)

  41. Extradite the illegals – to Tierra del Fuego.

    Mojo (a29e97)

  42. Mojo, are you trying to start a war with Argentina and/or Chile?
    Why not the Falklands? We currently don’t like the U.K., remember?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (2e4e7f)

  43. Late to this party, yeah, but:

    a) The obvious solution would be to release anyone on a non-violent drug offense first, n’est pas? Since these constitute a very large percentage of all convictions, they should resolve much of the expense.

    b) The government solution is to release rapists, murderers, and child molesters EARLY. Because, when recidivism kicks in, well, whose fault is it? Yours, because YOU didn’t give them enough money for the job, you cheap-assed tax-withholding son of a bitch!

    Some people should be ashamed of themselves. And that’s not the taxpayer.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

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