Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Schwarzenegger wants to send California prisoners to Mexico

This is from Raw Story:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested California could ease its crowded prison system by sending thousands of undocumented inmates to specially built jails in Mexico.

Speaking to reporters at the Sacramento Press Club, Schwarzenegger said California could ease its strained finances by a billion dollars if 20,000 illegal immigrants currently held in the state were housed across the border.

"I think that we can do so much better in the prison system alone if we can go and take, inmates for instance, the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here and get them to Mexico," Schwarzenegger said.

"Think about it -- if California gives Mexico the money. Not 'Hey, you take care of them, these are your citizens'. No. Not at all.

"We pay them to build the prison down in Mexico. And then we have those undocumented immigrants down there in prison. It would half the costs to build the prison and run the prison. We could save a billion dollars right there that could go into higher education."

It is an interesting idea, but I seriously doubt it will ever work. First, I'm guessing that the Governator would want to contract with private firms to build and run these prisons in Mexico. Why is it, when I think of this proposal, my mind goes back to the corruption, waste, fraud, and shoddy workmanship that Haliburton, KBR, and other firms engaged in with the Iraq reconstruction money--financed by American taxpayers? Something tells me we'd see the same thing with private firms building and running these Mexican prisons. In fact, I'd also guess that the private firms would demand more money from California taxpayers to build more Mexican prisons to house more inmates, and perhaps even cut corners just to increase their own profit margins?

A second problem I have with this idea is Mexico itself. There is still a high level of corruption in Mexico--especially political and drug-related corruption. And the Governator wants to build prisons in Mexico? I don't know how much this corruption will affect such a prison program--especially if such corruption influences private firms' construction and maintaining of these Mexican prison facilities, or even if the corruption extends down to a prisoner's ability to bribe the guards to be released from such a prison. Finally, how would Sacramento be able to regulate these facilities that are run by private companies in a foreign country? I'm sorry, but the more I think about this, the more I believe the Governator is proposing a scam to screw the California taxpayer into this boondoggle of a wealth transfer to a privatized prison interest.

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