California’s famous ‘three strikes and you’re out’ law aimed at taking violent re-offenders off the Golden State’s streets is in its tenth year. Thanks to it above 4,000 extra baddies are doing 25-year minimum stretches. Problem is they’re all non-violent. One shoplifter is reportedly doing fifty. Check out http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1335960,00.html
When the bill was passed the violent bit somehow got dropped. Still, it’s made prisons into the major growth industry in the state. Poor communities in need of an economic boost compete to get prisons built locally. On 2 November, Californians are getting the chance to re-insert the bill's violent tag by voting ‘yes’ on Proposition 66 and restoring a bit of sanity.
In a classic Smith’s Law action, the immensely powerful (and growing ever more powerful) California Correctional Peace Officers Association is spending tens of millions of members’ dollars campaigning against any change in the insane law that fills their prisons and their pension funds.