Friday Roundup: Things We Do in America Edition
In America we stack human beings like products on a shelf (when we aren’t putting them in cages like animals). I can’t think of too many people who benefit from this situation. Although I suppose one person who benefits is Carter G. Phillips, whom the State of California paid $1100 an hour to explain to the Supreme Court why a federal order to do something about the stacking and the cages and the prisoners dying in the cages — a federal order entered only after 20 years of litigation — was “extraordinarily premature.”
Just a reminder that we continue to wait for the Supreme Court to rule in Plata v. Schwarzenegger. In other news of things we do in this country:
- We are sort of ambivalent about whether or not it should be legal to shackle pregnant women.
- We worry more about the objects getting into prison than about the human beings who are getting out.
- We spend $10 billion a year on prison in California — which is facing a $25.4 billion deficit.
- Also in California, we are hearing talk of spending $365 million to build a new Death Row even as state universities and colleges are facing $1400 million in cuts.
- At 5% of the population, we imprison almost one-fourth of the world’s reported prisoners.
- We’ve been known to send people to prison on the basis of bizarre mass delusional panics.
- But lo, there is good news: we’re no longer shooting and killing prisoners at the Pelican Bay supermax.