Ah, yes! The good old days in California when a man could argue for forced sterilization with words like race and purity without having those meanies in the PC police get all over him. How far we’ve come! Now, there is no such thing. People know not to talk about it. They just move right past discussion to doing something about it. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, “Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals.”
In the clip below from last night’s All In, Chris Hayes looks at the larger issue of the out of control California prison system. And this gets to an important point that he does not discuss. In fact, it is something that I don’t like to discuss because I am a big supporter of labor unions. We need strong unions, but when those unions can affect government policy on how we deal with people caught up in the justice system, we have a problem. And that is most certainly the case with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). They have enormous power and they lobby for ever harsher sentences and more prison building.
Of course, the problem is much bigger than this. Politicians get nothing but plaudits for making harsher and harsher laws. Prosecutors get promoted for convictions. Convicting innocent people has almost no down side. The same goes for the police. The truth is that we have an entire law enforcement system that has nothing but incentives to make the system worse and worse. And our great governor (I do not mean that sarcastically!) who still is against the death penalty, is very much a proponent of everything short of that.
Hayes is right that a future governor will make a public apology about this. From 1982 to 2000 the California prison population grew to five times its original size—mostly due to increased drug law enforcement. I think that is where future generations will really look back in horror. “You put people in overcrowded jails with violent criminals and without access to proper medical care for what? Because you didn’t like their choice of drug? Really?!” That will be right up there with ideas like, “We must stop the inferior races from breading.”
Our alcohol good! Their cannabis baaad!