Richard Gilliam is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
Schadenfreude: To take delight or pleasure in another's discomfort or pain.
With imminent budget cuts, pay decreases, and layoffs looming for the California Department of Corrections, there has been a noticeable increase in harassment and vexatious behavior by some prison guards towards prisoners under their authority.
Thirty years ago, the state spent three percent of its general fund dollars on corrections and prisons. Today it spends more than 11 percent – that’s $10 billion running the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
In 2011, when Governor Brown took office, he inherited a massive corrections problem. The state's 33 prisons were at nearly 200 percent capacity, and the recidivism rate was running at 70 percent. The federal courts stepped in and ordered California to reduce its overcrowded prisons by more than 30,000 people.
As with much conventional wisdom on crime and punishment, popular notions of what actually causes recidivism--people cycling repeatedly in and out of prison--don't hold up when you look at the statistics. California's latest report analyzing its notoriously high (currently 65 percent) recidivism rate contains an array of numerical nuggets that shed new light on the cycle of crime. A sampling: