Here’s a link to a CBC report on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that will compell California to release or transfer to county facilities over 30,000 inmates to alleviate gross over-crowding that, the majority of the court said, is a violation of the prisoners’ constitutional rights because of the danger it poses to their physical and mental well-being.

With the Harper government committed to expanding existing prisons and building new ones as part of its “tough on crime” agenda, will a similar legal action be launched here at some point I wonder? No matter how you slice it, incarcerating people is bloody expensive. One estimate I’ve seen is that it costs $80,000 a year to house an inmate. 

But that’s the Conservative mindset. Tens of billions for the military, police, court systems and prisons. Pennies for progressive social measures to try to head off problems like poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction and lack of education and workplace training before they manifest into criminal behaviour that causes untold hardship for victims and perpetrators alike.