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PAMPHLETS FOR A BETTER HUMANKIND Addressing The Micro- And Macro-Problems Facing Humankind, And Providing Achievable Solutions; Going Where The Politically Correct Dare Not. (While the SOLUTION offered herein may not be a panacea, and may be provocative, it is offered as a positive step to correct the problem presented.)

PROGRESSIVE PRISONS
David Scott Harrison, (c) 2008

Administrators, officials, and specially rank and file employees (collectively "staff") of the California Department Of Corrections And Rehabiltations ("CDC&R") are indulgent, even yielding, towards those prison inmates who prove themselves to be the worst of the bunch. The mollycoddling of inmates who engage in illicit behavior is counterproductive to the expressed objective and goals of the CDC&R, festering the chaotic and violent prison environment that staff suggest they work to attenuate (NOTE: Let there be no misunderstanding, it is staff that deliberately shape the prison environment to suit their career promoting ill-agenda.). Inmates realize that there is no immediate punishment for violating rules and can often be heard voicing that mind-set: "So what. What are they going to do, lock me up? There aren't any beds in the SHU, anyway." Inmates caught in felonious conduct are seldom removed from the general prison population, and often go unpunished altogether; insignificant punishment rarely imposed is no deterrent. For example, staff do not remove an inmate from the general prison population (place them in Administrative Segregation ("Ad.Seg.") or the Security Housing Unit ("SHU")) unless the inmate's conduct is of the most violent and immediate nature, e.g., use of a weapon or threatening a Correctional Officer. But the many other offenses that underlie the majority of the chaos and violence within prisons -- including, but not limited to, trafficking/possession/use of drugs, making prison alcohol or being drunk, and gambling -- do not result in the removal of an inmate from the general population, no matter how oft repeated. Indeed, such inmates are allowed uninterrupted freedom to continue their illicit operations. The sole excuse given by staff for coddling such inmates is that there are not enough Ad.Seg./SHU beds for all the offenders. That excuse, while supporting their ill-agenda, is ludicrous. There is no shortage of beds. There is a misallocation of beds. Restructuring the CDC&R into a Progressive Prison system is the solution. Allow me to explain.

THE SOLUTION is not complicated, it is simply a matter of reallocating existing Yards and beds to accommodate all the offenders. Many CDC&R prisons contain four prison yards with five buildings on each Yard, each building housing approximately two-hundred inmates. Typically, in the entire prison, only one building, and maybe part of another building, will be set aside for Ad.Seg./SHU placements. Because of that deficient allocation, Ad.Seg./SHU beds are always filled to capacity, thus new offenders cannot be removed from the general population. In a Progressive Prison all buildings/beds of one entire Yard would be allocated for Ad.Seg. and SHU placements. Any inmate suspected (probable cause belief) of a Serious rules violation would be immediately removed to Ad.Seg. The inmate would be housed in Ad.Seg. until all matters relating to his suspected rules violation have been resolved; from Ad.Seg. the inmate would receive all paperwork, defend against the charged offense(s), and be afforded all Due Process protections and staff assistance in his defense in accordance with established law. In instances where the inmate succeeds in proving his innocence of the charged offense(s), he would be returned to the Yard he was removed from, subject to bed-availability. An inmate found guilty of the charged offense would be relocated from Ad.Seg. to the SHU to serve any term imposed (NOTE: The immediate placement of an inmate into Ad.Seg. would also eliminate the not uncommon occurrence of the suspect pressuring, intimidating, or bribing other inmates to falsely testify or fabricate documentation supportive of the suspect's defense, and/or having an inmate clerk alter or destroy charging paperwork, thus the rampant manipulation and gross perversion of the truth finding process would be significantly reduced).

Two of the three remaining prison Yards would be designated as Transition Yards, to accommodate new arrivals and inmates returning from Ad.Seg./SHU (NOTE: An inmate transferring in from another Progressive Yard would be placed directly onto the Progressive Yard). Inmates on the Transition Yards would be required to remain there for a minimum of one year disciplinary free before being eligible, subject to bed-availability, to be moved to the Progressive Yard.

The remaining Yard would be designated the Progressive Yard, which would house inmates who have proven themselves disciplinary free and have, or are eligible to be, assigned work and/or education positions. Inmates on Progressive Yards may receive benefits beyond those allowed to inmates on the Transition Yards, such as expanded recreation time and activities, less restrictions on package items that can be ordered, a larger number and better selection of monthly movie/videos, three appliances rather than two, etc.

The structure offered above would greatly reduce the sheer number and seriousness of rules violations. Inmates would quickly learn that the good-old-days of unchecked chaos and violence are over. Now realizing that misbehavior will land them immediately into Ad.Seg. -- with the concomitant loss of most of their cherished property (reduced to six cubic feet per CDC&R regulations) -- inmates will eschew such conduct. The worst of the bunch will find themselves in Ad.Seg. and the SHU, where their incorrigible and rebellious behavior can be controlled and restrained. Progressive Prisons will greatly improve safety and security within the prison environment for staff and those inmates who choose to follow the rules and desire to rehabilitate themselves (NOTE: Of course, prisons are not all designed the same, and perhaps there would be only one Transition Yard and two Progressive Yards. These are not insurmountable obstacles. Adjustments can be made for the differing designs of prisons, and for further reallocation of Yards/beds as situations requires.).

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