The Supreme Court on California State Prisons
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A divided US Supreme Court has created uncertainty and some fear by ordering California to reduce the prison population by some 30,000 inmates. The majority said overcrowding has caused "needless suffering and death," while the dissenters said public safety will be at risk from a wave of criminals released to the streets. Will county jails provide a solution? What about reducing some of the nation's toughest sentencing laws and finding alternatives to prison for less serious offenders? We hear opposing views. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wows them on Capitol Hill.
Banner image: A California Department of Corrections officer at Chino State Prison locks up the overcrowded dayroom of Sycamore Hall that was modified to house prisoners on December 10, 2010 in Chino, California. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Crime, Punishment and Constitutional Rights in California ()
According to yesterday's ruling by the US Supreme Court, California has two years to reduce the prison population by more than 30,000 inmates. The five-vote majority said overcrowding is so bad it violates the constitutional protection against "cruel and unusual punishment," even causing unnecessary deaths. The four dissenters warned in different ways about a flood of criminals loosed on the streets of the biggest state in the union. Governor Brown's Corrections Director said his goal "is not to release inmates at all." He already has a plan to send non-violent, less serious offenders to county jails.
- Lee Baca: Sheriff of Los Angeles County
- Rebekah Evenson: Prison Law Office
- Steve Knight: California State Assemblyman
- Mark Kleiman: University of California, Los Angeles, @MarkARKleiman
Netanyahu Wows Them on Capitol Hill ()
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got more than two dozen standing ovations today in his 50-minute address to a joint session of Congress. Several times, he promised compromises with the Palestinians--but always with firm pre-conditions. We hear some conflicting assessments.
- Ron Kampeas: JTA
- Khaled Elgindy: Brookings Institution
- Ori Nir: Americans for Peace Now
- Jonathan Tobin: Commentary magazine, @TobinCommentary
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.
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