Wednesday, November 15, 2006
From latimes.com: UCLA Law CrimProf Sharon Dolovich offers some thoughts on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reform plan for California prisons in a recent opinion article the LA Times. Here is a portion of the opinion:
"CALIFORNIA'S PRISONS are bursting at the seams, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest strategy for easing the pressure has hit a snag. The nonpartisan Legislative Counsel, which provides legal advice to state lawmakers, has issued an opinion concluding that the governor's plan to ship thousands of prisoners to private prisons out of state violates California's Constitution. This opinion buoyed the anti-privatization California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. (the state prison guards union), which has gone to court to try to stop the transfers.
"Let's hope the court sides with the union. Outsourcing the care of state prisoners to private, for-profit contractors, especially those located out of state, is a bad idea. Not only will the move do little to fix what is wrong with California's prisons, it will create a whole new set of problems that will outlast any short-term benefit.
"The most obvious problem is age-old: Who will watch the watchers? The contracts require contractors to comply with all California laws governing the treatment of prisoners, plus a host of other terms designed to ensure safe and secure facilities. But a signed contract is no guarantee of performance. Prison contractors make their money by spending less to run their prisons than the contract price. If they think no one is watching, they may well cut corners." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]