The Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to release tens of thousands of its prisoners to relieve overcrowding, saying that "needless suffering and death" had resulted from putting too many inmates into facilities that cannot hold them in decent conditions.
It is one of the largest prison release orders in the nation's history, and it sharply split the high court... the total prison population is now about 32,000 more than the capacity limit set by the panel...
...In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia called the ruling "staggering" and "absurd" ... He said the high court had repeatedly overruled the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for ordering the release of individual prisoners. Now, he said, the majority were ordering the release of "46,000 happy-go-lucky felons." He added that "terrible things are sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order." Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with him.
In a curious coincidence, it turns out that California imprisons roughly that many illegal immigrants.
As of Dec. 31, 2009, California prisons had 22,173 inmates with an immigration hold or potential immigration hold, according to a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation analysis. That represented 13 percent of the state's 168,830 inmates.
Inmates self-identify their country of birth, so the citizenship breakdown may not be entirely accurate, according to CDCR spokesman Gordon Hinkle. For instance, 827 of the inmates with an actual or potential immigration hold reported they were born in the United States, but they have a hold because their citizenship is in question...
Conservatively speaking, I figure that the "22,000 self-reported illegals" figure really amounts to 30,000 or more.
And what could possibly go wrong with freeing these felons?
After all, just three days ago, a prison riot in Sacramento involved 150 inmates and left several badly injured
But out in the real world, I'm sure they'll be on their best behavior.
Linked by: Memeorandum. Thanks!