California has faced a serious economic crisis for several years now, and at this point it is a state nearly $20 billion in debt. The state Senate is fervently trying to brainstorm how to fix this issue, and with the governor's help every day is a new struggle to amend its financial burdens. One of the most controversial ideas thrown out by the governor is "outsourcing" prisons to Mexico to house some of the illegal immigrants currently held in state prisons. Yet, for many, this sounds like the fox guarding the henhouse.
Past Governor Schwarzenegger had stated that by shipping out some 20,000 illegal immigrants currently held in state prisons, California could save over one billion dollars that, "could go into higher education." Instead of simply dropping the immigrants across the border and allowing the Mexican government to deal with them, Governor Schwarzenegger wanted to pay laborers to build prisons able to house the new inmates, giving California control over how things are done, but dramatically lowering the costs to the state overall.
California is in desperate need of a renewed prison system, as it has severe overpopulation of its prisons, sometimes filling up facilities with nearly double the capacity allowed. Not everyone agrees with the governor's opinions on how to handle the crisis, however; not to mention the biggest catalyst of the group would be Mexico's willingness to aid us in our struggles by allowing the facilities to be built. Once the structures went up and the inmates went in, it's hard to believe that the Mexican government would pay for health needs, food, and everything else that goes into the prison system, leaving the United States with the majority of the financial burden but without any actual physical control, and solving none of the current predicaments.
The then Governor Schwarzenegger also wished to look into allowing the privatization of the prison industry, not on the whole, but in part. On January 25, 2010, the governor stated, "I think that there is no reason why we should have just state employees and public prisons. Why shouldn't we have private prisons and private prisons competing with public prisons?" In response to allegations that privatizing parts of the prison system would be an assault on the public prison system and their labor union in general, Governor Schwarzenegger claimed that he didn't, "want to go and get rid of public prisons, not at all." The idea of a privatized prison industry is an interesting notion; however the concept of private jails is riddled with wormholes and lawsuits waiting to happen. There is enough talk of prisoners facing racism, hate crimes, general maltreatment, etc., that a privately owned prison seems doomed from the start.
Whatever the solution, we know that the system is in desperate need of a conversion. California can't continue at the current pace for fear of overpopulating prisons and causing costs to skyrocket. A resolution needs to be discovered as quickly as possible. The sooner they can take care of an issue as important as this one, the better they'll be able to rectify the rest of the state's issues, leading to a better, stronger California.