Zach Weissmueller on California's 'Cruel and Unusual' Prisons


Adam Jones PhD

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California's treatment of its state prison population violated the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment," and ordered the state to reduce prison overcrowding. But even with liberal Democrats running the state, it has taken court orders and direct voter referendums to ameliorate the problem. Why? Part of the blame, writes Zach Weissmueller, lies with the close ties between the party and organized labor.