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Atheists Today » Power and Control » Election 2008 (US)
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California Propositions
I would like to ask any of you that live in California and are voting to vote for Prop. 5 and against propositions 6 and 9.

Proposition 5 will expand treatment of and provide for the early release of non-violent drug offenders.

Proposition 6 mandates minimum annual state funding for police and prisons.

Proposition 9 gives victim's families greater access to and some form of presence in the parole process.

This state is drowning in prisons and prisoners. I tried to look on the net to find the exact percent by population but could not. I do believe that it is, if not the highest, one of the highest in the entire US. I would imagine many of you know at least some of the reasons. One that I find particularly offensive is the Prison Guards union which controls the second largest PAC in the state. If a politician wants their money the politician must agree to make the guards union bigger by adding more and more prisoners and thus more and more prisons. Another is double edged, mandatory minimum sentencing for a lot of drug crimes' some so heinous as having bought and stored a years worth of ganga, and the three strikes law. The latter was passed because people were sold on the idea that it would be applied only to truly violent criminals. Turns out that with prosecutor discretion on what charges to file in some jurisdiction people have been put away with one serious (say armed robbery) and two minor but chargeable offenses (say felony drug and a theft that can be charged as either).

Prop 5 seems likely to reduce the need for incarceration.

Prop 6 is absolutely guaranteed to increase incarceration. There are enough cops on the street as is. Getting them to do the real work of protecting people is a whole other story.

Prop 9 is a little more subtle. Families of victims can be argued to deserve a say in the parole of someone who has harmed their family. Personally I do not believe in the death penalty but I could also easily kill someone who killed someone I care about.

California has one of the tightest parole systems in the country. To make it even tighter would be to continue to keep people behind bars that deserve a second chance.

Though not an exact parallel there is one case that indicates how hard it is to get out of prison in California. A woman was convicted of killing an abusive mate. After many years in prison laws and precedent changed such that she would never have been convicted in the first place. I do not remember how many more years she served but it was considerable, and if I am not mistaken she was only released when diagnosed with a fatal disease.

Please consider these propositions and think about how you might vote.
I heard the largest contributor against Prop 5 is the prison guard union? (or lobbying group of some sort). We are the world leader is prison population per capita! U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A!

"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
The prison guard union loves the prison overcrowding. It means massive overtime for all of them in what is already a very well paying jog.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
Yes and yes. The prison guards union has far too much power in California. I am all for unions but when they lose sight of their reasons to be, improvement of wages and conditions for their members, they can become a negative force. In this case they seem to be more interested in increasing their power and wealth even if it that action causes detriment to the greater society.

In all fairness there is some big money backing prop 5, George Soros. One wonders what his stake in this is, although he does in fact often does weigh in on social issues.
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