Sunday, November 1, 2009

Partisan Politics

The difficulties in creating sentencing reform in California are better understood when considering the big picture. Yesterday's Sac Bee included a fascinating piece analyzing lawmakers' voting patterns, which demonstrates that they are extremely likely to vote with their party. The polarization, argues the piece, has increased in comparison with recent years.

What would be the best strategy to achieve prison decrowding under these circumstances? One possibility, which has yielded some success, is framing the question in terms of savings. Another one would be to implement Governor Schwarzenegger's decrowding plan as a response to the recent Plata/Coleman court order - a solution that the court has alluded to.

The future may depend on the outcome of the gubernatorial race. Let's hope that the next governor understands that California's future depends, to a large extent, on the state -- and cost -- of its prisons.

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