Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Mind Boggling Stat of the Day

Nick Kristoff’s characteristically thought-provoking column begins by telling the story of a man who got life imprisonment for stealing a pair of socks (as a result of the three-strikes-and-you’re-out law) and then notes that California will spend roughly $49,000 per year to keep the sock thief behind bars. Kristoff notes:

“The United States incarcerates people at nearly five times the world average. Of those sentenced to state prisons, 82 percent were convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to one study.
California spends $216,000 annually on each inmate in the juvenile justice system. In contrast, it spends only $8,000 on each child attending the troubled Oakland public school system, according to the Urban Strategies Council.”

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mary kujawa

posted August 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm

that makes no sense at all! we elect people to positions and then we find out they are it seems incompetent often.

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posted August 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

As a country “we” would rather spend $ on prisons than schools, on incarceration than on social programs that keep people out of jail.
Of course children and the disavantaged don’t have million $ lobbyists.

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sophie jensen

posted August 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm

California is so messed up. Many of those prisoners belong in mental hospitals, but we closed our mental hospitals many years ago and returned sick people to their communities without the money to care for them and keep them out of trouble. We used to have a great educational system, now we’re slashing the funds. Can’t help but wonder where our state government thinks it will lead when we have a lot of under-educated young people seeking nonexistent jobs and housing they can’t afford.

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posted August 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Part of the problem, which is appalling, is that communities, especially smaller, rural ones, compete to get jails put in as a form of economic development–jobs for jailers! This has, for example, happened in many parts of my Appalachian homeland. When we’re looking at incarceration as a way of making jobs rather than as rehabilitating criminals, no wonder we have such problems.

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posted August 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm

A campaign to get this guy pardoned by Gov. Schwartzeneger could bring an end to this injustice. The 3 strikes laws need to be revisted legislatively as well.

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Charles Cosimano

posted August 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Common sense will come out of California when shrimp learn to whistle.

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posted August 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Three Strikes is the result of the public’s knee-jerk response to a “tough-on-crime” ballot proposition heavily funded by special interests. It’s one of the worst ways to govern and is responsible for a lot of California’s problems. Nationwide, the American ethos of toughness and individuality works against low-cost solutions based on a sense of social contract and broad contributions for the common good. Combine this with a cynicism about our elected officials because of a political process that’s heavily slanted toward those who already have money and power, and you end up with a toxic mix of non-governance, disinformation, and public disaffection.

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posted August 26, 2009 at 7:41 am

Here is a better mind boggling stat of the day:
According to Rasmussen Reports, in a generic poll Republicans beat Democrats 43% to 38%. Republicans will probably take over Congress in 2010. Google “Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot” and see for yourself. This is a huge turnaround for Republicans. Obama’s healthcare plan is making people very angry! It is destroying the Democrat party. People are fighting mad. And it is not just the Republicans either. Obama will destroy the entire country if he stays is office!

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