Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Irony

As the rest of the country remembers the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta, Los Angeles County jails are in the process of segregating along racial lines. After racial riots broke out over the weekend, even the ACLU had to admit that the segregation lived up to the standard of "extraordinary circumstances" required according to a Supreme Court ruling from last year. The riots and the lockdown continue on today. The ACLU argues that the problem is overcrowding. County supervisors argue that the problem stems not from lack of funding but from understaffing (currently they have about one deputy for every 50 inmates). I toured the Pitchess Detention Center--the subject of most of the rioting--back in 1999. It is hard to imagine how one deputy for every 50 inmates can possibly do the job there--although it was one of the most organized and efficient operations I have ever seen. The inmates there are pretty serious offenders.

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