Steven Martinez was serving a 157-year term in prison for running over two women with his car in 1998, kidnapping one of them, absconding with her to an island somewhere and raping her repeatedly. Three years into his sentence, he got into a fight with other inmates, and he got stabbed in the neck, which cut his spinal cord. This rendered him paralyzed and therefore “no longer a threat to society,” according to an appeals court in San Diego. In spite of the San Diego District Attorney’s opposition to this decision to let him go, the judge ordered that Martinez be released under the new medical parole law and placed in the custody of his parents in San Diego who agreed to take care of him.
His paralysis requires constant 24-hour-a-day care. Because it was costing the state over $660,000 a year just to take care of him, his release was ordered to cut costs. Even though he is paralyzed and doesn’t even have control over his bladder or his bowels, the DA is concerned since Martinez could convince others to commit crimes on his behalf. While paralyzed, he regularly verbally assaulted his caretakers who say that he is still an “angry, repulsive man.”
Of course, I can think of probably the best cost-cutting measure of all when it comes to violent rapists and murderers. The death penalty. The state wouldn’t be worrying about spending millions of dollars just to make sure one rapist’s needs were met if they had just put him to death in the first place. His being paralyzed was surely poetic justice, but it doesn’t change the fact that he committed violent crimes. His body might be paralyzed, but his mind isn’t. He will continue to desire to carry out violent acts, but he won’t be able to move a muscle, and that will only make him angrier.
They’ll let rapists, murderers, and child molesters go free and will continue to jail non-violent drug offenders. Does this really make any sense? If California is so concerned with cutting prison costs, maybe they should let those go free who were arrested for mere drug possession. That’s why California prisons, and prisons all over the country, are experiencing overcrowding problems. Not because there are too many rapists and murderers. There aren’t enough murderers and rapists. Since 1980, the prison population has increased drastically. The National Review reports:
"This increase didn’t have anything to do with a rise in crime. It mainly reflected changes in the correctional policies that determine who goes to prison and for how long. In particular, it had very much to do with the war on drugs. Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates in the United States, up from less than 10 percent in 1980. The costs, of course, are staggering: State correctional spending now totals $52 billion a year, consuming one out of 14 general fund dollars; spending on corrections is the second fastest growth area of state budgets, following Medicaid."
If they want to cut prison costs, they’ll have to change the laws. Putting someone in jail for possessing marijuana would be the same as locking someone up for having “legal” painkillers. What’s the difference? The only difference is that the drug companies steer the laws to allow their drugs but no one else’s. Thanks to the drug companies’ lobbying for such laws, our society thinks that raping or murdering someone isn’t as bad as having the “wrong kind of plant” in your pocket.