Out With Mass Incarceration and in With Mass Commerce

Can California Call It Progress When Rural Prisons Are Replaced With Retail Warehouses?

As California starts closing prisons, what might open in their place?

I glimpsed one answer to that question while driving to Deuel Vocational Institution, between the San Joaquin County cities of Tracy and Manteca. The demise of Deuel, which shuts at the end of September, is more than just the first closure of a state-owned prison in a generation. It also opens a prison window on the future of our landscapes, and on the peculiar predations of California progress.

Heeding my phone’s directions from Oakland, I exited I-205 at Tracy and followed …

The Verdict Is in—California’s Dickensian Courts Are Failing Us

Our Clogged Legal System Creates Overcrowded Prisons, Underfunded Schools, and Housing Shortages

Dig deep enough into any of California’s biggest problems, and you’ll eventually hit upon a common villain: our court system.

California’s housing shortage, its poverty, its poor business climate, and …

California Prison Sentences Don’t Work Any More

Why Now Is the Time to Change the Rules I Helped Make

Just how much discretion should we give to officialdom when sentencing people to prison for crimes?

It’s a hard question, and, as I’ve learned firsthand, the answer can change through time. …

Playing Hooky From School Isn’t a Crime

The Path to Education Is Redemption, Not Prison

To understand the disturbing connection between San Bernardino schools and prison, consider this: Our school district is one of only two in California with a police force that can arrest …

How to Make Every Offender an Ex-Offender

Keeping Parolees Out of Prison Takes Jobs, Housing, and Cold, Hard Cash

Immediately after Californians voted in favor of Proposition 47—which redefined nonviolent felonies—last November, lawyers’ phones started ringing. The goal of this legislation—called the “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act” by …