July 04, 2007

A perspective on the Libby commutation:
Keep in mind that Scooter Libby would undoubtedly have served his time at a minimum security facility. I have visited the federal minimum security prison at Lompoc, California, and while it’s not a “country club,” it’s not what most people think of when they think of “prison,” either. Most of the prison is outside. There are no walls or fences; you could simply walk out of prison if you wished. (Prisoners don’t, typically, because the consequences of getting caught include a transfer to the maximum security facility.) Inmates play softball, milk cows, and sleep in dormitory-style accomodations. I’m not saying it looks like a fun life, because it doesn’t. But it’s not 23 hours a day locked in a jail cell with someone named Bubba.

In California, misdemeanor defendants face mandatory jail time for repeat offenses of driving on a suspended license — one of the lowest-level crimes on the books. And they go to L.A. County Jail — a far less pleasant place than minimum security federal prison.

Paris Hilton went to jail. Scooter Libby couldn’t serve even one day?

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