Wednesday, April 1, 2009

California lawmaker proposes selling San Quentin prison

As the state of California teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, desperate times are calling for desperate measures. Not for the first time, Senator Jeff Denham of California is proposing the idea of selling San Quentin prison.

Apparently, the facility sits atop pristine and pricey real estate, complete with views of the bay. Estimates are that selling the facility could net the state a cool 2 billion dollars. That would surely help to plug the gaping hole in the state's budget deficit. According to the CNN article, lawmakers have already approved some 300 plus hundred thousand dollars for rebuilding of a facility to house inmates on death row.

On the other hand, as one who is also an advocate for prison reform, given California's notoriously overcrowded prisons, is is really a good idea to close one that works so well? As I researched for this brief article, I noted that this is home to the notorious Charles Manson - (only someone born and raised elsewhere, such as I - London, England - could have been ignorant of that fact this long).

When times are tough, we tend to cast even more aspersions on the lowest of the low in society, which in this case would be prisoners. Even President Obama has recognized that inmates at Guantanamo Bay have certain inalienable rights. To relocate that many prisoners, disrupting their schedules, assuming one could find a community willing to take them "in their backyard", depriving them of family visitations if they move further away from their home bases, all these things should be considered from a social justice standpoint.

Please read the story in its entirety - feedback is always appreciated - I write for you as much as for myself.

Here is the link:

I also share this link to the website of a group of which I was a member during my years in Utah - MESJ - Mormons for Equality and Social Justice - they speak on this site eloquently of prison reform and why our system needs to be changed:

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