"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Thursday, September 15, 2011

People are Insane - Big Government gone wild

Your tax dollars at work.  Over 2,400 California prison gurads were paid over $100,000 in 2010.

 Big Government Insanity:  Spending $1.4 million in tax money to put a guy in prison for life who shoplifted $20.94

By Gary:

To use a technical term, in general human beings are crazy.  But humans in the People's Republic of California are really nuts.

I never met Scott Hove, and I hope I never do.   Hove tucked a spool of welding wire and work gloves inside his waistband and headed for the Home Depot store's exit without paying.

As he made his way out of the Lake Elsinore, California store, employees stopped Hove and found the stolen merchandise hidden under his sweat shirt.

"I was stupid," the certified welder told them.

The items were worth only $20.94. But the theft cost Hove, 45, a life prison sentence recently, when a Riverside County judge ordered him to spend 29 years to life behind bars under California's three-strikes law. 

His other strikes were mostly drug retaled:  stealing a few VCRs to buy drugs, pot possession, driving under the influence and have a small amount of drugs for sale.  Mostly Drug War crimes, reports the Los Angeles Times.

But he gets life in prison for shoplifting items worth $20.94.

$20.94 vs. $1,410,000

The current cost of housing a prisoner in California is a ridiculous $47,000 a year.  So if the 45 year old Hove lives another 30 years we are talking about spending $1,410,000 in prison costs.

It appears I am in the minority for daring to think that the cost-benefit ratio to society and the taxpayer is just a bit off here.

But I am the minority.  Both Liberals and Conservatives think this insanity that builds Big Government is a good idea.
Scott Hove gets life in
prison for shopplifting
a huge $20.94

LIBERALS:  The professional Left likes to publically wring their hands and weep over the poor, those abused by the evil system and by life in general.  They claim to be shocked by the three strikes law.  But the fact of the matter is deep down they like it.  Filling prisons with the so-called lower orders is a good thing.  People at the bottom mostly do not vote and Liberals get to pretend they are hard on crime. 

Then there is the added benefit that the prisons are a massive job industry for government employee labor unions.  And these labor unions give millions and millions in campaign money to Democrats.  The Democrats have a financial stake in keeping the prisons full and the unions fully staffed.

CONSERVATIVES:  The insanity of Conservatives favoring excessive punishment is more based in morality.  It is a "I had to give him the death penalty to teach him a lesson" type attitude.  Just like during Prohibition, the Conservatives like filling the prisons with those who are breaking the laws of God.  In many, many cases these days it is the Drug War.

Also, the Prison Industry is indeed an industry.  Often Republican oriented businessmen are supplying the prisons with food, clothing and supplies they need to keep these small cities going every day.  The Republican oriented prosecutors and police look at drug and other crimes as a Full Employment Act for their branches of government.

California Conservation Corps
Instead of having prisoners sit on their butts put them to work.

Let the punishment fit the crime

Here is a radical thought.  Let the punishment fit the crime.  Life in prison for non-violent crimes is not just stupid.  It is a waste of limited tax money.

Try this.  Instead of an automatic and moronic life sentence in prison, give someone like Hove a choice of sentences.

1)  Five years in prison for this non-violent third strike and another five years on probation  or

2)  Two years full time service in the California Conservation Corps and another five years on probation.

I say really give this guy a true punishment.  Rather than him sitting on his butt in prison draining away tax dollars, take that criminal butt and work it harder than it has ever worked in its' life.

Some of the hard back breaking work of the Conservation Corps includes trail maintenance, riparian zone restoration, tree planting and exotic plant species removal, or construction and roadside maintenance.  Wildfires are a major California problem.  Get these guys out there building mountainside fire breaks and helping fire crews put out fires.

A couple of years of tough hard work just might cure some folks of crime.  Teach them self-respect and team work.  Even if they are not cured, society gets a Hell of a lot of free labor.

But Common Sense is Dead.  Rational thought is not allowed in a modern Big Government society.

The hand-wringing Liberals will claim the evil government is making these poor non-union prisoners WORK and provide value to the society that they harmed.  Not to mention we might need fewer unionized prison guards who contribute mightily to Democratic coffers.

Conservatives will knee-jerk somehow that such a proposal would be "soft" on crime.  Never mind prisoners would be punished everyday with hard, sweaty work instead of sitting on their asses at $47,000 a year.

I can see liberals wringing their hands that the poor prisoners had to work.
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