Friday, February 5, 2010

Justice Kennedy Attacks California Prison Union

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy pointed the finger at the California correctional officers union for the states prison overcrowding problem. During a recent lecture at Pepperdine University School of Law, Justice Kennedy said the union's support of the draconian three-strikes law was taking taxpayer dollars way from other important community needs.

The Los Angeles Times reported Kennedy's comments, "California now has 185,000 people in prison at $32,500 a year" each. He then urged voters and officials to compare that expense to what taxpayers spend per pupil in elementary school.

"The three-strikes law sponsor is the correctional officers' union and that is sick!" Kennedy said of the measure mandating life sentences for third-time criminal offenders.

There is little question that tough-on-crime legislation, including the three-strikes law, has had a powerful impact on prison crowding. However, much of the blame lies with the elected policy-makers who have been influenced by the "law and order industrial complex." There is enough blame to go around including judges, prosecutors, governors and legislators who have ridden the back of the "law and order tiger" to campaign success. Remember the comments of another Kennedy; President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, "Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside."

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