Reforms at the state and local levels have shrunk the prison population. "Federal laws took some part in that -- allowing prisoners to serve only a certain percentage of their term," he said. "Also, they've reduced prison sentences for certain drug-related offenses."
As the wave of mass incarceration begins to recede, the Mississippi controversy has local and state officials talking openly about how harmful locking up fewer people up will be for the economy, confirming the suspicions of those who have argued that mass incarceration is not merely a strategy directed at crime prevention. "Under the administrations of Reagan and Clinton, incarceration, a social tool used for punishment, also became a major job creator," Antonio Moore, a producer of the documentary "Crack in the System," wrote recently. [...]
The prisoners have value beyond the per diem, county officials add, when they can be put to work. State prisoners do garbage pickup, lawn maintenance and other manual labor that taxpayers would otherwise have to pay for. Convict labor has made it easier for local governments to absorb never-ending cuts in state funding, as tea party legislators and governors slash budgets in the name of conservative government. [...]
"You either gotta hire a bunch of employees or keep that inmate."
The last reply we got from them was this hilarity, a week ago:
There have been two unexpected events that have come up at 11th and Harrison. One is a the identification of additional underground utilities when PG&E came out and the other is a permitting issue. Public Works engineering is quickly redesigning around the utility and we are working on the permitting issue.
So this means they scheduled their PG&E inspection for the day construction was to begin, or later, because if they had done that inspection earlier, they would have pushed the start date back and our parklet wouldn't be gone yet.
It also means that DPW doesn't have accurate maps of the gas lines, which is kind of amazing and also kind of scary.
Also, "permitting issue"? Are you kidding me? You are the ones who issue the permits!! Circular firing squad in full effect.
But one thing has happened: the bus shelter down at the corner has been removed. But wait, you say, I thought the bus shelter was going to stay where it is? Yeah, me too. So now I'm worried that they've changed their minds are are going to want to dump it in front of our door, like in their initial design. We can't get an answer to that question either. Any time we reply to the dozen-recipient thread about this project, we get nothing but vacation auto-replies from half of them.
The Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge was a lot of fun, and the robots were awesome, but it was pretty under-attended. I hope those of you who came enjoyed it, because we lost over $3,000 putting that show on. Hooray.
Some photos, and this month's mixtape: