Sexy Spending in California

Topics: Prison, Crime, California Pages: 6 (2277 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Sexy Spending In California
Is The Most Expensive Prison System In The U.S Truly Working?

I am writing about the prison system in California. I am going to investigate how California became a state that spends the most money on prisons in the United States. I also am going to research if our prisons are the most effective. I will also be comparing our system with other prison systems from around the world. I am going to take an in depth look at where all the money is spent relating to the prison systems. I am going to give my opinion after gathering research on the issue and talk about a few ways the issue can be resolved. The United States holds over 2.3 million people behind bars. Each year, as California’s population rises, its prisons grow more crowded. As funding for education lessens in California, funding for prisons rise. California has risen to become the number one spender in prison systems amongst the United States. But how did this happen? Is California really the toughest state when it comes to criminals? In the 1960’s, California was investing money to promote higher education; coincidently the crime rate dropped about 25%(1). As an individual in California, we are incapable of single handedly deciding how revenue in The Golden State is distributed. For the most part, politicians are in control of the states finances. Prisons are currently operating at double capacity. Is it that we have so many criminals inside the state? Or are the taxpayers supplying free room and board to homeless drug-addicts, and unlucky individuals who are caught committing petty crimes? As time passes, the crime rates grow. California is home to 35 prisons, which is the most that one state has in the United States. So why is it that when flicking through the news, or opening a web page do we tend to see a new violent crime that was committed? More than likely, I will see more than one crime committed in a day. Although the state that I live in spends millions of dollars incarcerating criminals, I do not feel safer. With the rate of recidivism being the highest in the United States, I begin to wonder if it is even worth it. In all, is California operating the prisons correctly? Or is it that the economy has taken such a tank, people are desperate to perform criminal activities in order to survive.

California was not always pro-prison. In fact, at one point in time there were only eleven prisons. The prison system grew within 20 years thanks to Politicians and Governors that came into office after the 1970’s. Around this time it was in a politicians best interest to be tough on crime. If a politician preached to the public that they were “tough on crime,” they won the election. Immediately, drug arrest arose over 250 percent. California leads the way in criminalizing drug users. Politicians truly showed that they were not going to tolerate drug users, and that they would have the final laugh in “The War on Drugs.” Overwhelming with inmates, and no-where to put them, it was motioned to the state that it creates more prisons. To prove that they were “tough on crime,” and to win re-election, politicians continued to ride the pro prison train. But who was it specifically asking for more prisons? I mean we really can’t blame it all on the politicians can we? Let’s see, there were the poor, rural communities who wanted prisons to aide their weak economies. There were the contractors who received huge lump sums of cash to build and supply the prisons. Finally, there was the California Department of Corrections and The California Correctional Peace Officers Association. In the end, it always comes down to winning and making money. The true question is, who is really winning and who is really making money?

California holds more than 175,000 inmates. It has more prisoners than England, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined. When the “War on Drugs,” occurred and politicians needed votes, they made sure to...

Bibliography: 1. Collins, Craig “Crimes & Prisons” Mar 2004
2. Dawson, Robert & Brechin, Gray Farewell, Promised Land, London, England: University of California Pres, 1999.
3. Kaskla, Edgar, California Politics, Washington D.C: CQ Press 2008
4. Sowle, Stephen D. 1995. "A Regime of Social Death: Criminal Punishment in the Age of Prisons." New York University Review of Law and Social Change 21.
5. Pillsbury, Samuel H. 1982. "Creatures, Persons, and Prisoners: Evaluating Prison Conditions Under the Eighth Amendment." Southern California Law Review 55
6. “Corrections and Rehabilitation,” 2010
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