Will it be debtor’s prison for California?

Perhaps, but it now seems as though California will escape this sad fate because, well, because the state can no longer afford to use incarceration as a technique of social and political control. I believe no sensible person would lament this reversal. Nor would they lament the fact that California's fate may also be an omen of those measures additional states will be forced to take in order to manage their budget crises. As Sasha Abramsky reminds us, "As California goes, so goes the nation." She continues by noting that:

If that old adage still holds true, then the nation may soon see a gradual backpedaling from the criminal justice policies that have led to wholesale incarceration in recent decades. For the most populous state in the union is on the verge of insolvency — partly because it didn't set aside a rainy-day fund during the boom years; partly because its voters recently rejected a series of initiatives that would have allowed a combination of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to help stabilize the state's finances during the downturn; partly because it has spent the past quarter-century funneling tens of billions of dollars into an out-of-control correctional system. Now, as California's politicians contemplate emergency cuts to deal with a $24 billion hole in the state budget, old certainties are crumbling.
The appalling War on Drugs may become one casualty of this fiscal reckoning. Punitive sentencing laws may be another. Given the significance of the current situation, one might hope that Americans would "just say no" to the carceral system (Foucault) and the pacification techniques it employs.

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