html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I liked these pieces of Sillen's talk.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I liked these pieces of Sillen's talk.

I don't have commentary on this, but I listened intently to these pieces:

At 20:10, he tells an amazing story about political will, the cost of mandatory sentencing bills and overcrowding in prisons:
“Unless somebody truly addresses in a meaningful fashion sentencing reform and parole reform, this is just going to go on forever and frankly I don’t think it’ll go on forever, I don’t think the federal courts will let it go on forever. There’s still time for the state to straighten it out, but maybe it isn’t in their best political interest to straighten it out. Because if the courts do it, they can always point the finger and say, ‘the courts do it’. Their only problem is, can they convince their constituents to re-elect them when they didn’t do what they were elected to come here to do.

[inaudible question about AB 900, a bill to relieve prison overcrowding by building more prisons]

No, let’s make absolutely sure that this response is Bob Sillen, Receiver’s, response, not Judge Henderson’s response. OK? It’s not a fix. As I just indicated, it is going to make it a little bit worse. That prison population is going to go up. And I think, when some of the issues get worked out or understood in terms of AB900, the space is not available to do the rehab programming that supposedly the space is available for. There’s no mandate in AB 900 that you can’t use ‘ugly beds’ any more. Two weeks ago, hundreds of female prisoners were transferred out of CRC, in Norco […] and sent to Valley State Prison for Women and started initiating more ‘ugly beds’, you know, the day rooms, et cetera et cetera. This is charade.

My own personal estimation is, is that if it weren’t for the need for the legislature to show that they can get along together, and show the general public that they can work in a bipartisan manner, and if term limits weren’t on the table, there wouldn’t have been an AB900. [] The state can not build their way out of this problem. All they will do is increase the capacity of the state prison system. They’re shipping them out of state; now I have reports of three deaths in the out-of-state prisons. Now I have to create a whole arm of my operation to review the out-of-state prisons.

There’s a major investigation going on in San Diego, on of the community correctional facilities, because they allow mother-baby programs and, kids are dying down there. So it is totally under investigation. There is going to be a proliferation of facilities, which means a proliferation of staffing, in a world where health care staff are like trying to get hen’s teeth []. It doesn’t make any sense. And they’re gonna do the infill beds out there in the desert, where four or five of those prisons are in endemic Valley Fever area, so all of that digging and all of those spores being blown up are just going to create a Valley Fever epidemic out there. Not only in those prisons, but in those communities. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. []

Oooh. And some interesting commentary on prison guard unions about about 28 minutes.

At the end, he states that neither the executive nor the legislative branch could do what he is doing:


I think I’m in this for the long haul. I tell you, this could never be done without the receivership. I would never have taken this job for the state in a million years. First of all, there wouldn’t be this job for the state. It is called the Secretary of CDCR, in who’s shoes I stand. All the powers of the Secretary of CDCR have been stripped from him and given to me when it comes to medical care.

But they can’t do it. You know, Secretaries can’t do it. Governors can’t do it. You know, I’m convinced. Governors can’t do it. Governor and the legislature together can. But a governor cannot do this job. So, if it weren’t for the receivership, I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be interested in being here, because I wouldn’t be able to do it either! I got to have that piece of paper and without that piece of paper and without Judge Henderson, I’m toast! You know, nobody borned me so bright or anointed me, I just happen to have a court order. When the court order goes, I go. It’s real simple. […]


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