California prisons could be worse

July 1, 2013 

Having just finished reading the article from The Sacramento Bee "Prisoner release demanded" (June 21, Page B-5), I respectfully write to inquire specifically what constitutional rights convicted criminals have been denied?

It is my understanding they can no longer vote and probably can't have active driver's licenses. Other than a clean place to sleep, decent food and ability to exercise, what are some of their rights that are being abused?

I have read frequently that they have access to television, movies, a law library, magazines, newspapers, medical, dental and mental health treatment. I am left to wonder if California should not have hired Arizona's Joe Arpaio, who is consistently re-elected, and while criticized by a few, has his prisoners living in tents in 130-degree summer temperature, keeps them in striped prison garb and pink shorts, and has resisted all attempts to restore constitutional rights to his prisoners. I do believe California prisons are a cut above that.

ELINOR E. KNIFFIN

Ripon

Editor's Note: Lawsuits filed against the state over prison crowding and the poor medical treatment in prisons cite the Eighth Amendment, which reads: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted."

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