FROM Matthew Cate
Prisons, Jails and Alternative Punishments The US Supreme Court has ruled that California's overcrowded prisons constitute cruel and unusual punishment. To reduce the population, Governor Brown and the legislature enacted " realignment ," which provides that non-serious, non-violent, non-child abuse convicts be sentenced to county jails. That's where parole violators are going now, too. But the state prisons are still not emptying out fast enough, and three appellate court judges are threatening to order that inmates be released early. The goal is a population that's 137 percent of prison capacity. On Friday, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the CDCR, has been asked to tell the judges how it plans to achieve that by June of next year.
Non-Violent Felons to Move from State Prison to County Jail Tens of thousands of nonviolent felons will be serving time in county jails instead of state prisons. That's the law signed by Governor Brown last night. The catch is that, without the extended tax hikes he wants approved by the voters, there's no money to reimburse the counties for hundreds of millions of dollars in new expenses. Brown promises that the change won't happen until the money is there, but some law enforcement officers say it's still a bad idea.
Reforming the California Prison System A three-judge federal panel has found that California’s prisons are overcrowded to the point where inmates die almost on a daily basis. It’s ordered that prison populations be reduced. At the same time, a new state law has reformed the parole system. So-called "low risk" parolees won’t be supervised so intensely, which means they won’t be sent back to prison so often. The program started yesterday, and state officials insist that is not what some are calling "early release."
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.