Walter Russell Mead: The Supreme Court makes it official - California a failed state?

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    May 29, 2011 1:14 AM GMT
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/05/27/scotus-makes-it-official-california-a-failed-state/

    The controversial US Supreme Court decision (pdf) that could ultimately force California to release tens of thousands of prison inmates is more than a shockingly broad exercise of judicial power. It is also an official declaration by the highest constitutional authority in the land that California meets the strict test of state failure: it can no longer enforce the law within its frontiers.

    Let there be no mistake: when you produce so many criminals that you can’t afford to lock them up, you are a failed state. Virtually every important civil institution in society has to fail to get you to this point. Your homes and houses of worship are failing to build law abiding citizens, much less responsible and informed voters. Your schools aren’t educating enough of your kids to make an honest living. Your taxes and policies are so bad that you are driving thousands of businesses away. Your management systems must be fouled and confused to the max for you to create something so dysfunctional, so wildly beyond your means, that the Supreme Court of the United States (wisely or foolishly is another question) starts to micromanage your jails

    California used to be the glory of this country, the dream by the sea, the magic state. Now it produces so many criminals it can’t pay to keep them locked up.

    This is partly a blue social model thing. California’s public unions are sucking the state dry — like a parasite killing its host. Too many Californians buy the ideology of entitlement best described by that great Louisiana prophet of the blue social model Huey Long: “If you aren’t getting something for nothing, you’re not getting your fair share.”


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    Los Angeles, CA to Houston, TX - $1,610.00
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    May 29, 2011 4:21 AM GMT
    riddler78 said[The Supreme Court decision] is also an official declaration by the highest constitutional authority in the land that California meets the strict test of state failure: it can no longer enforce the law within its frontiers.

    Let there be no mistake: when you produce so many criminals that you can’t afford to lock them up, you are a failed state. Virtually every important civil institution in society has to fail to get you to this point. Your homes and houses of worship are failing to build law abiding citizens, much less responsible and informed voters. Your schools aren’t educating enough of your kids to make an honest living. [my emphasis]

    What the Court decision actually says is that California hasn't invested in sufficient prison construction for its prisoner population. But if you mean to imply that the size of the prison population is a referendum on the health of the State, let's examine that.

    Here is the prisoner population per 100,000 residents, starting with California, followed by the States that are higher:

    California..........682
    Louisiana........1138
    Georgia..........1021
    Texas..............976
    Mississippi.......955
    Oklahoma........919
    Alabama..........890
    Florida.............835
    South Carolina..830

    The list goes on before you reach California, but I don't wanna bore you. BTW, do you notice any pattern or similarity among the higher prisoner density States? Which, according to riddler78, must be suffering from worse social failure than California.

    I might also note that the US national average is 738, which California is also below, even with its overcrowding.
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    May 29, 2011 5:11 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    riddler78 said[The Supreme Court decision] is also an official declaration by the highest constitutional authority in the land that California meets the strict test of state failure: it can no longer enforce the law within its frontiers.

    Let there be no mistake: when you produce so many criminals that you can’t afford to lock them up, you are a failed state. Virtually every important civil institution in society has to fail to get you to this point. Your homes and houses of worship are failing to build law abiding citizens, much less responsible and informed voters. Your schools aren’t educating enough of your kids to make an honest living. [my emphasis]

    What the Court decision actually says is that California hasn't invested in sufficient prison construction for its prisoner population. But if you mean to imply that the size of the prison population is a referendum on the health of the State, let's examine that.

    Here is the prisoner population per 100,000 residents, starting with California, followed by the States that are higher:

    [...] The list goes on before you reach California, but I don't wanna bore you. BTW, do you notice any pattern or similarity among the higher prisoner density States? Which, according to riddler78, must be suffering from worse social failure than California.

    I might also note that the US national average is 738, which California is also below, even with its overcrowding.


    Er no. First, SCOTUS isn't saying the issue is the number of prisoners, the Supreme Court ruled that the overpopulation is unconstitutional http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-1233.pdf. Second, it's not my argument - it's that of Walter Russell Mead. Sorry you looked that all up for nothing. Parenthetically, one of the primary reasons criminologists attribute the fall of crime despite the recession is that those who commit crime are in prison so having more people in jail is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Of course one of the easiest solutions to this problem would be to stop the silly war on drugs and instead regulate them but Californians voted against that in the last election but who knows, that may change.