Here’s what they call a classic “problem from hell.” California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a prison reform law in 2011 that sentenced lower-level offenders to county jails rather than state prisons. Since then, violence has risen disproportionately in county jails, with inmates attacking each other, and guards, far more frequently.
But there’s more to the story than soft-on-crime attitudes, or state budget-cutting. Brown signed the law as part of an effort to comply with a federal court order regarding California’s overcrowded prisons. The problem is that there is too little space in state prisons–and too much crime in an economically troubled state.
California is becoming increasingly dysfunctional–the sharp coastal-inland divide, the high unemployment rate amidst massive wealth, the cutting-edge technology hubs and the public schools that barely teach kids basic math and science–and yet much of its dysfunction is hidden view beneath the beauty, the glitz, and the utopianism.
The answer to the malaise is a rapidly-growing economy and a streamlines state government. I’ve said before that three policies could turn it around: 1. oil and gas drilling; 2. a 6% flat tax; 4. removing public union privileges. The rest is mostly detail. Simplistic? Yes, but badly needed and log overdue. In my opinion, anyway.