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."
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?