Two Inmates' Views on California's Pr...

Two Inmates' Views on California's Prison Overcrowding Crisis

There are 24 comments on the New America Media story from Apr 14, 2010, titled Two Inmates' Views on California's Prison Overcrowding Crisis. In it, New America Media reports that:

New America Media, Commentary, Dwight Abbott and Michael Cabral, Introduction by Michael Kroll, Posted: Apr 13, 2010 Editor's Note: This January, a panel of three federal judges ruled the State of California must reduce its prison population by up to 40,000 inmates, bringing it to 137.5 percent of its designated capacity .

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Since: Dec 07

Location hidden

#1 Apr 15, 2010
The two inmates:...
Dwight Abbott ... is serving four life sentences at Salinas Valley State Prison, Soledad, California. Michael Cabral is in his sixth year of a 15-Life sentence at Salinas Valley State Prison, Soledad, California.

I know a way to free up two prison cots really, really fast.

ZAP!
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#2 Apr 22, 2010
ZAP! you say. What if one of those two inmates who wrote for this article was your child, or your spouse? Would you still think ZAP is the solution?
Anybody with half a brain can see that CA needs some serious overhaul of the prison system. Not only are they dangerously overcrowded (making it unsafe for not only the inmates, but all employees as well)but they need to have some sort of rehabilitive services, jobs where they can learn a trade for when they are released (filling bags with sandwiches and an apple and handing them out to inmates for lunch, or sweeping and mopping a day room floor aren't exactly jobs that are in high demand on the outside of those walls). Teach them plumbing, carpentry, motor vehicle and small engine repair, landscaping (the list could go on here), and let them do a lot of that work behind the walls, which would save the state a lot of money on the outrageous amounts it pays to contract those jobs out. Oh, but wait, you are probably one of those people who make $100,000 a year going in and unclogging a toilet every couple of days for the CDCR when an inmate with a plunger could do the job a lot cheaper.
Who would you rather have move into your neighborhood, an inmate who sat in prison for 25 years with nothing to do except fight to survive, learned nothing that would help him or her become productive in society, or one that learned a trade, could get a job and be off the streets?
I ask again, what if it were one of your loved ones on the inside of those walls?(For the sake of your loved ones, I hope they never have to find out. I have a feeling your solution would still be ZAP!)

Since: Dec 07

Location hidden

#3 Apr 23, 2010
SMR wrote:
ZAP! you say. What if one of those two inmates who wrote for this article was your child, or your spouse? Would you still think ZAP is the solution?
..... but they need to have some sort of rehabilitive services, jobs where they can learn a trade for when they are released .... Teach them plumbing, carpentry, motor vehicle and small engine repair, landscaping ....
These two scumbags are serving four and fifteen life sentences. I'm assuming that their crimes were so heinous that they will never get out of prison. I see no reason to spend money on food, housing, medical care, lawyers, electricity, schooling, etc. They had their chance on the outside as free people.
Zap!
Zap!
That solution would save the taxpayers millions of dollars.

If my child or spouse did something to be sentenced to fifteen life sentences in prison I would have no use no use for them. I would rather they were executed than spend their life behind bars using up society's resources.

Face it. Sometimes it's necessary to put down a mad dog or dangerous animal. That's what Dwight Abbott and Michael Cabral are.

Why not kill them and use the money the government would spend on them for the next 60 years to help their victims?
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#4 Apr 23, 2010
You know nothing about either of them other than that they are in prison, you know nothing about their lives, why they are there. But seeing how you admitted that if a loved one of yours was in prison ZAP would still be your solution I can see that you don't have a humanitarian bone in your body.
It must be a wonderful life you life, so perfect, never done anything wrong, probably never driven drunk, lied on your taxes, taken something that wasn't yours at one point in your life. Congratulations on being perfect, even though it must be a lonely existence, being one of a kind like you are.
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#5 Apr 23, 2010
In reference to your comment about "assume their crimes are so heinous... ", do you know about the 3 strike law there in CA? People who have stolen a loaf of bread to feed their families because they are ex-inmates and cannot find a job (because they received no vocational training while in prison) who happened to already have 2 strikes against them are in prison for 25 to life. I know, bad bad men and women who steal a loaf of bread, they should be confined at tax payers expense for life (at least in your twisted mind).
You know what they say about "assume". It truly fits in your case.
linda richardson

United States

#6 Apr 23, 2010
people do make mistakes hopely they will learn from it. shame on people that are not forgiving of that. linda
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#7 Apr 23, 2010
Oh, and by the way NiteClerk, Michael is NOT serving 15 life sentences, it is a 15 year to life sentence.
Artillery

Los Gatos, CA

#8 Apr 26, 2010
Yeah three strikes and your out. Sure let's rehabilitate these grown men who for some odd reason can't get it right. Those stories you hear on the news about parolees getting hemmed up and getting sent back to prison is just a fluke. Our bad for not giving them some skills to become productive members in society but where was their family the first 18 years. Didn't they have a chance to show them right from wrong. As a kid your wrong doings don't go with you in adult hood so those y.a records would be gone. Rehab all you want but the majority of these grown men are coming back. I grew up ward of the state because of the decisions of my parents but I got it right. Crazy what the military can do for you
Artillery

Los Gatos, CA

#9 Apr 26, 2010
So yeah, ZZZAAAPPPP!!!!!!
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#10 Apr 26, 2010
Imagine yourself, for some unforsaken reason, having gone to prison for 25 years at an early age. When you get out the world has changed drastically - somebody getting out today after 25 years has never used a computer, a microwave oven, a cell phone (other than the ones smuggled into the prisons, which I might add can't be coming from visitors because no matter where you try to hide them, the metal detectors will go off). Not only has the world changed and left them behind, they have no vocational training, especially in the sought after fields of computers. Most are lucky if they have a high school education.(Look at the CYA as an example - they have been in the news enough lately, some of the facilities having been closed because of the abuse the children suffer and the lack of services they have provided)
Without some kind of training they have no recourse left other than more crime, putting them back into the only world they know. Especially the ones with family like Artillery and NiteClerk, who would no doubt abandon any family member who was unlucky enough to end up in prison. There goes yet another support system for the inmate, making them say "Why bother?"
I am not saying to abolish prisons by any means, some definately need to be there. All I'm saying is to give the ones a chance who want to take it, be trained, be rehabilitated, but when there is no rehabilitative services availale their chances are pretty slim on getting out and staying out.
As far as parents, I agree, many certainly have not done their jobs, far too many being criminals (and in the big cities, gang members) themselves, teaching their children that crime pays, providing you don't get caught. Some of these kids are doomed from the start, but that don't mean they cannot change with proper guidence. Artillery, you are a perfect example. If you had been emotionally, physically and sexually abused while a ward of the state (as so many of them are), do you think you would have been able to lead a productive life as an adult if you didn't have some sort of support system there to help you along the way? Too many of these men, women and children were not as fortunate as you, did not have anybody who cared enough to offer a hand in help and friendship rather than violence and abuse.
So rather than spend upwards of $50,000 a year to house, feed and medically provide for inmates who will no doubt continue to be returned to prison, why not spend some of that money training them so that when they do get out they stand a chance. You were given one via the military, their situation won't allow that, but there are things that will cost the state next to nothing to provide. When "free men" come into the prison to unclog a toilet, paint a wall or change a tire on a prison vehicle why not teach an inamte to do it while he's there? No jobs are being taken away from civilians, and the inmates are getting some sort of training at the same time.
And as far as civilian jobs being lost to inmates once they are trained, the cut in prison personel is already apparent after letting go many of the people who used to work with, train and educate inmates. Pretty soon the only employees at any prison will be the C/O's, the state won't be able to afford any of the so called "support" personel.
naomi

United States

#12 May 12, 2010
I to. have a dad who had the thrift strike and I think they should spend money on helping them. It's not right what they did some were on drugs and didn't have any body. God said to for give he died for us because he loves us why can't we for give and help make our world a better place. I haven't known. My dad my whole life he has been in and out he finally. Got the third strike when I was fourteen Ian twentyfour and I fear for my dad he doesn't even know his grandchildren I pray for him to come home but he set to life.it really ticks me off how our world don't have a heart. I say help our people in jail give them a chance
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#14 May 13, 2010
I just got a letter from one of the writers of the article, after telling him a bit about the comments that have been left here and I would like to share his thoughts on all of it.(And no, I'm not saying which inmate I was in contact with).

It's a rather lengthy reply, so happy reading, I think you will be surprised at his response.

"So, we have hit a sore spot with the article we wrote on overcrowding. I patiently await the printout of the online debate going on in response to the 'scumbags' that are 'doing all that crying.'(I have since mailed him a print out of this whole page). Love it that at least one feels adamant that "....the only way to deal with the problem is ZAP 'em all!" I am assuming "zap" means to kill us. And they say WE are the ones with sick minds.

I recall a time I wrote about that very thing; insisting unless society decided to execute all criminals upon conviction, or sentence them to LWOP (Life Without Parole), then for its own sake its members need endeavor to establish an environment conducive to humane treatment and "rehabilitation".
Fact is, I agree there can be no middle ground on this subject: Fire up the furnaces or provide programs that we can take advantage of as we battle to repair ourselves, before again being unleashed back out among you. Since the justice system is not going to kill us, not "physically," then give us a way to become productive representatives of what ones incarceration experience was originally meant to accomplish. With five decades, and counting, of incarceration, I am the "expert," and I know the majority of us would leap to take up whatever will help repair what is broken inside of us.
To all those out there who got a break, were not caught-up when they did their share of wrong things, now with "better-than-thou attitudes, I urge they rethink their positions. Until the "system" is willing to stock-up on cardboard boxes and get to "zapping" us, the only other answer is to give over to us the tools that will return us to you rehabilitated, not broken, angry & bitter, more disturbed and troubled than when first incarcerated.
Granted there are those among us who will never get it right, not under any cicrumstances - ever - and for those, such as myself, there needs to be an island upon which we exist and die, but we are truly the minority.
Unfortunately the politicians convince their flocks otherwise. They point their accusing fingers to the worst of us, those long uncaring, doomed never to find our way back, to justify, even "excuse" their inability to satisfy their obligations to those who elected them.
In position to make the difference in literally millions of lives, politicians instead further victimize society by proclaiming to the masses that rehabilitation is nothing more than giving "them scumbags a free education," blinding all within hearing distance to the consequences of punishment without rehabilitation. One being the reality everyone the prisoner "touches" when unleashed will care if a "criminal" was released, or a productive citizen. The haters, the instigators, they won't speak on this, caring nothing about the cost of inaction, not until they are counted among the vitims."

(I take full responsibilty for all typos).

Since: Dec 07

Location hidden

#15 May 13, 2010
How about posting the criminal history of these slimebags? A quick search turns up that ... "Mr. Abbott was then an acknowledged founding member of the ‘Aryan Brotherhood’, a white supremacist prison gang." But off hand no court convictions as to why he is serving four life sentences. Maybe jaywalking? Spitting on the sidewalk?

But for Cabral I found this: "One of the drivers in a drag-racing crash that killed two teenagers in 2003 is the first person arrested under a state law named for one of the victims.

Police said that a yellow pickup truck driven by Michael Cabral, 28, was spotted Friday racing a blue pickup and nearly causing an accident on Metacom Avenue in Warren -- near the same area as the crash that killed the teenagers and sent Cabral to prison for more than a year. He has now been charged with reckless driving, second offense, which is a felony, and street racing, known as the Justin Nunes Law for the 17-year-old boy killed in the 2003 crash."

So he is scum that caused the death of a couple of people. Then when he gets out of prison he does the same stupid stuff. Plus there is more than likely a long list of other crimes he was found guilty of over the years. Not to mention all the things that were plea bargained away or he was never tried for.

How many chances do you give worthless scumbags like this? There are a lot of decent law abiding people who would love to have a free college education. Why give it away to career criminals? Hopefully both of these sub-human piles of excrement will get AIDS from being gang raped, then die in order to reduce the prison population.
SMR

Winchendon, MA

#16 May 13, 2010
I never said either of these 2 were saints, they are in prison for a reason.
What I am saying is that ALL inmates should have rehabilitative services available to them. Not only does it give them a chance to learn a trade (for those who will someday be released) it gives them something to do during the day rather than sit around, planning and plotting more and more ways to cause trouble (dangerous for inmates and employees both). And it would help reduce the cost of hiring people to come in and do the jobs that inmates could do. They could unclog the toilets, make minor repairs on a prison vehicle, paint a couple of walls - all the while giving them a sense of pride and self worth.
As I have stated before, there are plenty of inmates who do indeed belong in prison, but there are also plenty who are not "scumbags". They were unfortunate enough to not have the love and support of family (CA has the highest gang population in the country - children following in the footsteps of parents and older siblings into gang life), education is lacking, crime is rampant and jobs are scarce. And as sad as it is, many resort to crime.
And as far as "free college education" for inmates - hahahahahahahahaha. That don't happen. They are lucky if they can get a GED in there now. There is nothing for them other than a couple anger management and substance abuse programs. The prisons that will allow college classes for inmates are not free - the inmate or the family pays for it just as you or I would out here.
Right now all CA prisons are having what they call Rolling Blackouts, every other day, maybe every three days, the inmates are confined to their cell: no yard, no recreation, no day room, no phone calls - nothing other than already scheduled appointments with medical or somethng equally important. So, every couple of days all these men and women get to sit in their cells, nothing to do but plot revenge, think of new and improved ways of causing problems, sometimes just for the fun of it.
Again, I will state, they are inmates, they are in prison for crime(s) and are being punished with the loss of their freedom. In order for them to help keep that freedom once it's regained they need services to teach them how to survive on the outside without resorting back to crime.
The 2 men who wrote that article will never get out, they have no illusions on it ever happening for them. But it is for the others who are going to someday be released - into your neighborhood, going back to the same old ways that put them in prison in the first place. I pray that you and your loved ones don't see first hand what the lack of rehabilitative services does to those released inmates.
As far as the overcrowding, the state needs to stop sending people back to prison for minor offenses just because it's their 3rd strike (which of course wouldn't happen for a lot of parolees if they had been taught a trade or given rehabilitative services while incarcerated the first time).
The cost of keeping all those non-violent offenders in prison (for life) on their 3rd strike is astronomical. Look at the home page of every prison in California and see their annual operating costs. The solution is not to build more prisons, it's to teach and REHABILITATE the ones who are willing and able so that they don't return.(CDC has now added the R for Rehabilitate to their title - but yet even they admit that budget constraints are preventing that service - probably because they are hiring more and more officers, and paying overtime to many, to stand guard over the already too many inmates crowding the CA prisons.
Give them training, an education, counseling services, continue the anger and substance abuse classes - anything that will help with rehabilitation so that they have a chance upon parole.
Audra Haynes

United States

#18 Aug 30, 2010
SMR:

You have the wrong Michael Cabral ... the Michael Cabral in this post is only 23 now.

Be sure to do your research FULLY before posting.
Audra Haynes

United States

#19 Aug 30, 2010
Edit, the above message is for NiteClerk not SMR.

Since: Dec 07

Location hidden

#20 Aug 30, 2010
Audra Haynes wrote:
SMR:
You have the wrong Michael Cabral ... the Michael Cabral in this post is only 23 now.
Be sure to do your research FULLY before posting.
I did try to look it up. That's where I got the info. I guess there is more than one scumbag Michael Cabral. But in the meantime why don't you provide some details about why he has been put away? Was it jaywalking? Spitting on the sidewalk? Quadruple ax murders?
amazed

United States

#21 Aug 31, 2010
People write or comment on things they know about. These 2 guys wrote about prison overcrownding. An issue I'm pretty sure none of us commenting here know a thing about. So why not, instead of attacking these guys on something they've already been convicted of, we look at the harsh truth, that people are being stacked into prisons which only results in added violence both towards inmates and officers.

Since: Dec 07

Location hidden

#22 Aug 31, 2010
amazed wrote:
People write or comment on things they know about. These 2 guys wrote about prison overcrownding. An issue I'm pretty sure none of us commenting here know a thing about. So why not, instead of attacking these guys on something they've already been convicted of, we look at the harsh truth, that people are being stacked into prisons which only results in added violence both towards inmates and officers.
Because they are in prison due to their own fault. Now they want honest taxpaying people to come up with millions of dollars so they can live like someone vacationing at a hotel.

They are sentenced to prison for their actions. These are not people who forgot to pay a parking ticket and so were locked away for life. They are criminals. I don't believe they should have air conditioning or television. Let's give Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona absolute authority over the California prison system. I'll bet he could save the state (meaning taxpayers) a bundle of money.

One solution to over crowding is to have them hot bunk. Everyone gets a bed for 8 hours per day. Then for 12 hours a day they can be making driveway gravel out of boulders. This leaves 4 hours to eat, shower, etc.
kyle troy

Riverside, CA

#23 Nov 27, 2010
I've been in one of those crowded prison gyms and its not that bad unless youre triple-bunked. The prison system is a 10 billion dollar a year industry and the guards have more power than any other special interest group in the state. They want more prisoners so they can hire more fat lazy pieces of shit 120000 grand a year for doing nothing. Trust me ive been there they have the easiest job in the world.

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