Front page, Sunday LA Times editorials
Why I quit the prison system
California’s last corrections chief on what the state needs to do next. Jeanne S. Woodford, Jeanne S. Woodford spent 28 years working in the California prisons and was the acting head of the state corrections department when she resigned in April.
Woodford was a sea change in the California prison system, which exists primarily for politicians to get elected by outdoing each other in gittin’ tough on crime, for contractors to get wealthy by building new prisons, and for the prison guard union to fatten itself through contributions and its guards with bloated raises.
What I saw behind bars
A former state legislator fought for new prisons … then he landed in one. Pat Nolan is a vice president of Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners and their families.
Rather than putting resources into bricks, mortar and barbed wire, the legislature should give prison staff the resources to prepare inmates to find honest work, support their families and be good members of the community.
Prison fix: call in the feds
California’s dysfunctional prisons need a judicial jump-start.
If I were a betting man, I’d give 5-1 odds that U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson will place the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation under his direct supervision within the next six months.
That’s what’s needed. Take control of the prisons away from the Schwarzeneggers and prison guards, and force reform. California prisons are among the most brutal in the nation and their Special Housing Units (SHUs) have been called torture by Amnesty International. The current system guarantees that inmates will keep returning to prison, which of course is precisely what the politicians, contractors, and prison guards want. They have a huge vested interest in insuring that genuine rehabilitation never happens – just another example of an economic system that puts profits and political gain above the interests of society as a whole.