Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Hell in a Hand Basket Observation

Another Hell in a Hand Basket Observation
Talks with my daughter who lives in Marin County, California often hinge on the difficulties of her job which is strongly tied to the state budget. She works in a house where mentally and physically handicapped adult live. Yesterday she spoke of how California is trying to deal with their overcrowded prison system. Much about that seems that justice, especially for young offenders, is really going to hell in a hand basket as many of them will get no legal representation and many will be tried as adults. I am not a Californian so will just state those facts and not comment further. A further bit of information in the newspaper article she had just read states that something over $157,000 a year per prisoner is the cost to the state.

Her observation which is the true subject of this rant is that somehow the state is spending that much per year per prisoner while, she "get a miserable $300 a month, per client with which to feed them three nutritious meals a day." She does the shopping and supervises the cooking and the feeding, which in many cases involves individual dietary needs and/or one-on-one feeding. Something is very out of whack there!

I won't go into the very low pay scale for the workers in the homes or other cuts in services for the handicapped. I don't begin to understand how the prison system can cost that much but I have heard similar numbers for other states. I suspect similar imbalances exist in many other states. I can't give suggested fixes but it seems to me something very elementary in our value system and our priorities as a citizens is very wrong.

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