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Realignment Redux

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kristi Rohlfing     Permalink

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/49676104@N02/8357943769/: A Good-Bye to San Quentin
A Good-Bye to San Quentin
(Image by ShawnMills93950)
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br />A Good-Bye to San Quentin by ShawnMills93950


REALIGNMENT, Jerry Brown's model for the nation.

REALIGNMENT, simply put, is harebrained legislation ramrodded through in 90 days as a reaction to the US Supreme Court's decision in the Plata and Coleman cases. These were called Coleman v. Schwarzenegger and Plata v. Schwarzenegger, and renamed when Brown became governor. California's prisons were deemed too jampacked, and medical care was cruel and unusual by the high court. Realignment's sole purpose was an effort on Gov Brown's part to prove that complying with the Supreme Court's orders is impossible. The legislature that passed it wasn't this one, and this one doesn't understand it half as much as the last one didn't. Most legislators hear nothing but complaints from their constituents about it. Clearly nobody's happy with a Plan designed NOT to work, but the beauty of this plan, just like the Corrections OR Rehab part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or CDCR, is designed for continuing recidivism. Prisons are a growth industry in California. They feed fear, and, political campaigns.

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Prison Realignment was Moonbeam's way of bitchslapping the Supreme Court and the taxpayers at the same time, just to show you that if he was going to be forced to "let out" 30,000 inmates, those prisoners will now cost taxpayers $75,000 a year, per inmate, instead of the present $50,000.*

'LETTING OUT' 30,000 PRISONERS was used to scare and confuse people into the belief that losing our Department of Corrections and uh, Rehab was going to be letting vicious criminals on the street, instead of merely ... rearranging their accommodations. 

LETTING PRISONERS OUT was not something that occurred by the Realignment Room Shuffle, but is the tail of the beast the Media wags when a high-profile child abduction case occurs. The girl taken from Northridge last month wasn't because Realignment let out 30 year-old career criminals. You can blame that on the Parole branch of the CDCR, where screw-ups like this traditionally occurred on an alarming-enough basis, and always have, but nobody had REALIGNMENT to hang that problem on before. They hadn't invented it yet when Prison Agency Secretary Matt Cate said 'Oops' to Jaycee Lee Dugard. Gov Brown and the rest of the lobbyists, legislators, flawmakers, others dependent on Realignment not working, find the best benefit of the 'Realignment' Follies is a PR fear-mongering campaign to keep California's Golden Prison Industrial Complex well-oiled at full speed. "The best prisons money can buy."
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"The Prison Crisis is Over!" claims Moonbeam.

The REAL benefit of REALIGNMENT, as Gov Brown in the smoke and hazy mirrors quoted just last month to our state:

As for prison mental health, the cruel and unusual part of these Supreme Court cases

"It's a model for the Nation!"

"We have thrown $238 million into a new mental health building, and we have spent more on these personnel than anyone in their right mind would, just to prove we still know how to throw away money, lest you fear the Supreme Court is planting a notion that California intends to scale down its incarceration business one bit. That could get very awkward when it comes to running for elections."

When asked to expand upon this, the prison spokesflack said the same thing.  Two hundred thirty eight million. Billion. Whatever. Like it's real money. Not a word about reform.
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In March, SCPR, Solitary WatchLA Times and Slate published articles regarding suicides in California state prisons after the federal monitor Dr. Raymond Patterson up and quit. Frustrated, claiming any future attempts at investigating is a waste of time and effort, he made it very clear that state prison officials just don't care and are not interested in finding a solution. Dr. Patterson blasted the state for failing to follow recommendations he made over the last 14 years.

The Federal Court says: 
"We've already litigated this. You're going to be in contempt of court."
Jerry: "We're going to the Supreme Court."
Court: "You already went there."

As a taxpayer, I want to see these bills.

Don't forget, and all politicians count on you forgetting a LOT, that it was barely a year ago Moonbeam admitted that his budget was "off" by $6.7 billion, that economics wasn't his forte', nor had he any math since Algebra II. He didn't speak of economics. He hasn't pointed out that science wasn't a huge part of his background either. I daresay his behavioral sciences were lacking. Reform of the correctional system is more than shuffling people around on an ad hoc basis, a PR campaign on how to gild a turd, or throwing money.

Nothing, other than throwing money at a new campus, has changed. The methods have not changed. The wall of secrecy is still there. They are paying the very same problematic persons even more money than they were getting before, to not recognize serious pathology among each other, much less inmates. When it was found they missed it, and it cost taxpayers millions, they tried to cover it up, and lied about it. 

Whilst Moonbeam kvelled from Shanghai about these upstanding personnel, the state auditor found COs having sex with inmates, arranging murders, inciting fights among them, not calling fights off, denying medical care, trading cell phones and contraband was still the norm. This was while they knew they were on the hot seat. 

'Realignment is solving our incarceration problems, said no County in this state.' Ever. Each county got a small wad of Prop AB 109 money, not nearly enough, to make up for the passive aggressive dump of a huge state problem, a big part caused as determinate sentencing, predating the ensuing three strikes in his first trip as Guv'ner. This now creates opportunities for Plata and Coleman cases in 58 counties, less equipped or resourced to deal with problems the Department of Corrections only caused itself by their pretense that they have either Corrections OR Rehab in mind. Mind you county jails are half full with inmates merely awaiting trial, too poor to post bond for what celebrities or you or I or one not targeted walk free for every day. Don't kid yourself. Drive a heap of a car, be the wrong age, wrong color, in the wrong part of town.

The governor says again "the prison system isn't crowded and it's providing the finest health care that money can BUY. "Here's another example why that isn't true," said Don Specter, director of the Prison Law Office that filed the lawsuit. "Prisoners are dying because they're in a toxic environment which causes serious illness and death on a regular basis. "

SUPPRESSING ISSUES? @JerryBrownGov This is Advertising! Prison PR! We need jobs so we're building more. 

Medical epidemics happen when you try to trick science and haven't leveled with the public about three dozen inmate deaths and hundreds hospitalized. The federal CDC is now taking over this investigation.

We need a lot more sunshine on the profits keeping the incarceration factories humming.

Throwing money at a problem doesn't fix it, or hide it.  

I daresay it IS deliberate indifference to human rights when he has ignored the exhortations of the expert the state has hired and paid a good fortune to for so many years to solve many of these inhumane deaths.

Most think all inmates are behind bars because they should be punished, but the system has been gamed since the advent of mandatory sentencing. So many are persons who have pled out to crimes they did not even commit. I used to think that because someone was in prison, they deserved to be. I found that wasn't true. 

It is rare that a federal court will hold a Governor in contempt. 


 

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Artist. Accidental whistleblower. My career in historical building preservation led me to stepping in a big public/prison corruption mess in Prison Town USA. Had no idea that turning in due diligence contaminant tests to the Health Dept was going (more...)
 

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Realignment Redux