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California: a penal colony with a nice coastline

That’s Kevin Drum in Mother Jones: California’s Prison Disaster.
A nice little piece about the prison mess

A combination of dumb drug laws, dysfunctional parole policies, “three strikes” laws passed by initiative, an endless procession of tougher-than-thou politicians, and a famously thuggish and politically powerful prison guards union has gotten California into this mess.

But, while Kevin is friends with Mark Kleiman, he really needs to stop going to Mark every time he talks about drugs. Particularly now, with his new book coming out, Kleiman talks about nothing but Project HOPE when it comes to drug policy, even when it’s only of partial relevance. California is not going to solve its prison explosion by merely instituting a parole system with drug testing, position monitoring, and “swift but mild” prison sanctions. They’re going to have to imprison fewer people in the first place, and some of those they imprison will have to be for shorter sentences.

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