Roar? Sure, why not. It’s Friday after all, and I’m feeling generous. Your end o’ the week Morning Roar!
Why Does CA Want to Keep Its Inmates in Jail?
Now, you may read that headline and say, “well shucks, if those are crazy nuts in those CA jails who like the stabbin’ and the thievin’ and the carryin’ on, sure, keep em’ locked up!” Or at least you would say that if you were a 1920’s gold prospector.
And hey, you might be right – but what about those who would be eligible to get out due to expanded parole programs or after CA passed its new drug laws? Those people did their time (much of which was assigned based on non-violent drug offenses) and now can go free, so why shouldn’t they, right? Well, lawyers from California’s Attorney General’s office don’t think the same way.
Why? Because inmates are nice cheap labor.
From Think Progress:
In recent filings, lawyers for the state have resisted court orders that they expand parole programs, reasoning not that releasing inmates early is logistically impossible or would threaten public safety, but instead that prisons won’t have enough minimum security inmates left to perform inmate jobs.
Because that should be the priority…
The dispute culminated Friday, when a three-judge federal panel ordered California to expand an early parole program. California now has no choice but to broaden a program known as 2-for-1 credits that gives inmates who meet certain milestones the opportunity to have their sentences reduced. But California’s objections raise troubling questions about whether prison labor creates perverse incentives to keep inmates in prison even when they don’t need to be there.
The debate centers around an expansive state program to have inmates fight wildfires. California is one of several states that employs prison labor to fight wildfires. And it has the largest such program, as the state’s wildfire problem rapidly expands arguably because of climate change. By employing prison inmates who are paid less than $2 per day, the state saves some $1 billion, according to a recent BuzzFeed feature of the practice. California relies upon that labor source, and only certain classes of nonviolent inmates charged with lower level offenses are eligible for the selective program. They must then meet physical and other criteria.
In exchange, they get the opportunity for early release, by earning twice as many credits toward early release as inmates in other programs would otherwise earn, known as 2-for-1 credits. In February, the federal court overseeing California’s prison litigation ordered the state to expand this 2-for-1 program to some other rehabilitation programs so that other inmates who exhibit good behavior and perform certain work successfully would also be eligible for even earlier release.
Ok, good, so CA had to legally comply and the inmates get to breathe that clean outside air and live the long, fulfilling lives of free men (unless some of them pull a “Brooks” from The Shawshank Redemption), right?
As has been California’s practice in this litigation, California didn’t initially take the order that seriously. It continued to work toward reducing its prison population. In fact, the ballot initiative passed by voters in November to reclassify several nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors will go a long way toward achieving that goal. But it insisted that it didn’t have to do it the way the court wanted it to, because doing so could deplete the state’s source of inmate firefighters.
Because California is special. Just like those spoiled “millennials” think they are! California: The Millennial State.
The plaintiffs had this to say in response: “Defendants baldly assert that if the labor pool for their garage, garbage, and city park crews is reduced, then ‘CDCR would be forced to draw-down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF positions.’ That is a red herring; Defendants would not be ‘forced’ to do anything. They could hire public employees to perform tasks like garbage collection, garage work and recycling … ”
Fortunately, a federal court agreed and forced CA to expand its parole programs to give prisoners the opportunity to have their freedom back.
This is a despicable example of the agents of the state of California putting their own interests above those individuals who reside within it.
Shameful, but not surprising in the least.
Obamacare Stats Inflated By 400,000 By “Accidental” Inclusion of Dental Plans
“Whoopsie!” was the official statement coming out of the Obamacare camp when it was revealed that the highly touted 7-plus million Americans that signed up for healthcare (a number the administration had pegged as marking the legislation successful) was a sham propped up by the inclusion of 400K dental plans. From Bloomberg:
The Obama administration said it erroneously calculated the number of people with health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, incorrectly adding 380,000 dental subscribers to raise the total above 7 million.
The accurate number with full health-care plans is 6.7 million as of Oct. 15, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed today, saying the U.S. won’t include dental plans in future reports.
“The mistake we made is unacceptable,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said on her verified Twitter account. “I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.”
Of course the Obama Admin didn’t volunteer this info on its own – it was exposed by a Congressional Oversight Committee, marking the first time in history a COC has done anything valuable to the populace.
Cake for everyone!
Anaheim, CA Creates Nonsensical “Sex Purchaser” Online Registry
Orange County, CA is a place filled with an odd assortment of people. It’s mostly right wing, despite residing just outside hyper-liberal Los Angeles, and consists mainly of rich white people whose kids like to put Fox Racing stickers on their spotless 4×4 trucks. However, they aren’t one to take sex trafficking lying down (I swear there isn’t a pun intended there), and in efforts to combat it, they have decided to adopt the “puritan” tradition of publicly shaming those who purchase sexual services. From Reason:
In Anaheim, California, anyone convicted of buying sexual services will have their names and mug shots indefinitely posted to a city web page listing “Sex Purchasers”. The Anaheim district attorney’s office says the scarlet HTML is meant to deter sex traffickers, which makes about as much sense as posting jaywalker mugshots in order to deter car theives. No, let’s call this for what it is: straight-up, old-fashioned, puritanical public shaming.
“Public shaming as a form of punishment goes back to the days of Puritan colonists,”writes Los Angeles Times‘ Emily Foxhall. “In recent years, it’s become a strategy for police departments targeting the sex trade. … Orange County’s move is expected to heighten debate over whether public shaming is effective at reducing prostitution and whether it exposes johns to too much scrutiny.”
Let me be clear when I say that I do not advocate sex trafficking – it’s a horrible crime and an egregious violation of individual rights. Voluntary prostitution on the other hand should be 100% legal, as an agreement between two consenting adults that affects absolutely no one else’s liberty in any way.
But sex trafficking or no, this bizarre tactic has zero chance of being effective.
Melissa Farley, executive director of the anti-prostitution group Prostitution Research and Education, told the Times she’s unaware of any evidence that this kind of shaming results in long-term behavior change.
Peggy McGarry, director of the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice, has said that public shaming punishments have “no record of efficacy in turning someone away from crime,” especially when it comes to low-level offenders.
So essentially, this is just a bunch of social conservatives globbing on to a popular cause (sex trafficking) to publicly shame men for no reason. Super great, Orange County! You’re lucky you’re on the ocean, or no one would ever visit you.
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