Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not the First Problem I See

Via SL&P, here's a New York Times story about the latest private prison scandal:

Hawaii prison officials said Tuesday that all of the state’s 168 female inmates at a privately run Kentucky prison will be removed by the end of September because of charges of sexual abuse by guards. Forty inmates were returned to Hawaii on Aug. 17.
But I see a problem that comes well before any abuse - what the fuck are inmates from Hawaii doing in Kentucky?!? By my (admittedly rough) calculations it's 4600 miles from Honolulu to Otter Creek. How on Earth are prisoners supposed to maintain contact with the outside world -the people that might help them integrate back into society - if they're on the other side of the planet? What possible justification could there be for that? Oh, wait a sec:
Hawaii sent inmates to Kentucky to save money. Housing an inmate at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua, Hawaii, costs $86 a day, compared with $58.46 a day at the Kentucky prison, not including air travel.
As I've said before with regards to charging inmates for the cost of their incarceration, one of the most basic rules of a civilized society is that if you're going to lock folks in a cage, you gotta' pay for it. Maybe Hawaii's budgetary woes are caused by the fact that they lock too many people up in the first place?

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