WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to release tens of thousands of its prisoners to relieve overcrowding, saying that "needless suffering and death" had resulted from putting too many inmates into facilities that cannot hold them in decent conditions.I'm sorry- I was just thinking that if some of these convicts that the court is so willing to spring should have to bunk at Justice Sotomayor or Kagan's place, then some of the Supremes probably wouldn't be as eager to let them walk.
It is one of the largest prison release orders in the nation's history, and it sharply split the high court.
Justices upheld an order from a three-judge panel in California that called for releasing 38,000 to 46,000 prisoners. Since then, the state has transferred about 9,000 state inmates to county jails. As a result, the total prison population is now about 32,000 more than the capacity limit set by the panel.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, speaking for the majority, said California's prisons had "fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements" because of overcrowding. As many as 200 prisoners may live in gymnasium, he said, and as many as 54 prisoners share a single toilet.
Kennedy insisted that the state had no choice but to release more prisoners. The justices, however, agreed that California officials should be given more time to make the needed reductions.
In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia called the ruling "staggering" and "absurd."
He said the high court had repeatedly overruled the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for ordering the release of individual prisoners. Now, he said, the majority were ordering the release of "46,000 happy-go-lucky felons." He added that "terrible things are sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order." Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with him.
In a separate dissent, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the ruling conflicted with a federal law intended to limit the power of federal judges to order a release of prisoners.
Even if I was to assume that all 38,000+ inmates wanted to go on the striaght and narrow, there's still the fact that they're being released into a state with 12% unemployment and an already scarce job market, which would mean that it would only be a matter of time before the newly-released cons would turn back to whatever criminal enterprise landed them in the clink to begin with. Couple that with budget and personnel cuts in police departments throughout California and you are almost begging for something bad to happen.....often.
As far back as 2009, Michigan's then-Gov Granholm had proposed in a letter to California's then-Gov. Schwarzenegger that California inmates could be housed in two Michigan prisons that were slated for closure that year. Although the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would take Granholm up on a similar offer, the deal with California ultimately fell through.
In advance of the Supreme Court Ruling, Gov. Brown had proposed transferring some 40,000 'low level' offenders to local or county jails as part an effort to meet an estimated $9.6 budget shortfall. [I can almost garuntee that most state and local politicians will stand firm on refusing to allow law-abiding Californians to obtain conceal-carry permits- NANESB!]
Exit question- what are the odds some Democrat-allied 'community organizers' are going to attempt to register as many of the newly released convicts to vote as possible?