More bad news from California's prisons: the state has inked a deal with the Corrections Corporation of America to ship another 2,336 to private facilities outside of the state.
California's overcrowded, dangerous prisons continue to serve up a windfall for companies like CCA while the state refuses to address the underlying problem and reduce incarceration rates. A federal court has ordered the state to reduce its prison population by 40,000 (27%) in two years, but the Governator is fighting the decision tooth and nail.
California is making an an enormous mistake by shipping prisoners far from their families and support networks and replacing them in crowded prisons with new bodies. Cowardly politicians are afraid to make sensible moves on sentencing and parole because they're afraid of the soft-on-crime label, and the public either follows the tough-on-crime propaganda or fails to give the issue serious thought. The result: prisoners remain invisible, prisons remain overcrowded and the system stays in crisis.
I've written before about the sickeningly strong business outlook for our country's private prison companies (CCA is the biggest), and the costs of incarcerating Americans thousands of miles from home. These two issues combine to create a dangerous cocktail of a prison industry that misses a critical chance to focus on easing the reentry for the 700,000 Americans freed from prison each year.
The wonderful folks at Thousand Kites are doing something about this problem. They are collecting stories of prisoners and families affected by these destructive policies and will be focused on reforms to keep prisoners closer to home in the coming months. Learn more about their campaign and their partners at the Virgin Islands Prison Project here.