“A former Charles Manson follower who was imprisoned for a double murder engineered by Manson won a recommendation of parole Thursday after 40 years in prison.”–CBS News, October 5, 2012.

“Thirty years ago, the state accounted for nearly 70% of [California’s] public higher education funding; today, it’s 25%…The [California] prison system saw its state funding in dollars leap 436% between 1980 and 2011.” —Mother Jones, October 2, 2012.

I’m all for shifting California’s public funds from prisons to higher education, by reducing penalties for small-scale drug offenders. But do we really have to release this guy?

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Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.