The Supreme Court ruling in Plata v. Brown ordering California to relieve prison overcrowding has outraged the Court’s conservatives. But as Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia notes in her latest column in The Daily, their reaction is just as overblown as the liberal reaction to welfare reform was 15 years ago. Just as liberal predictions that welfare reform would lead to destitution for the poor didn’t come to pass, likewise conservative predictions that prison reform will jeopardize public safety are baseless now. That’s because much of the Golden State’s overcrowding is the result of its insanely draconian three-strikes law that keeps non-violent, non-serious offenders behind bars much longer than necessary.
“Many of their [second- and third-strikers] sentences could be commuted without endangering public safety given that these laws have had little impact on crime rates,” notes Dalmia.