Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Could Go Wrong?

This experiment is going to be interesting to follow and I'm glad I'm far away:

The Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to release tens of thousands of its prisoners to relieve overcrowding, saying that "needless suffering and death" had resulted from putting too many inmates into facilities that cannot hold them in decent conditions.

Of course, with the overcrowding, there has already been an effect. Judges know that there is no room and so I'm sure have been using whatever discretion that they have to reduce sentences or divert defendants to alternatives. And prosecutors have used their discretion to reduce charges against defendants or not to bring cases to trial. And I have no doubt that police departments know who it is pointless to arrest and perhaps whole categories of crimes are now in practice decriminalized.

Criminology majors everywhere are rejoicing.