May 23, 2011 Beware making jail/cages unnecessarily repressive
From p. 51 of the slip opinion in Gerry Brown v. Plata.
Today, the Supreme Court’s four most conservative members, dissenting, forecast societal dangers to force early prisoner releases due to California prison overcrowding of the variety called cruel and unusual in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Gerry Brown v. Plata, ___ U.S. ___ (May 23, 2011).
The risks are not as high as the dissenting justices claim — particularly seeing that the early releases will have to be released by the time their sentences expire — if the early prison releases are for people convicted of non-violent drug crimes. Brown v. Plata highlights the need to shrink the criminal justice system in order to balance overburdened governmental budgets, through such approaches as legalizing marijuana, prostitution, and gambling; decriminalizing all other drugs; eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing and the death penalty; and eliminating per se rules in drunk driving cases.