Our governor recently signed an emergency spending bill for more than $8 billion for rapid prison expansions to avert a federal judge's mandate to ease prison overcrowding or California would face the early release of potentially thousands of prisoners.
My solution to this dilemma is to forget about spending the $8 billion on prison expansions and simply ship 10,000 prisoners (for starters) to the Army for deployment to Iraq. The prisoners would complete the same Army boot camp as regular soldiers and be housed in a secured "tent city." If the tents are good enough for our volunteer soldiers, they should be good enough for lawbreakers.
After boot camp, the prisoners get their tickets to Baghdad. Let them pimp out their Humvees all they want. Who knows? They could clean up the town in no time! If they serve honorably for 24 months, the prisoners could have their sentences reduced or forgiven. They might even become productive citizens along the way.
Congress should pass a "Wartime Offender's Act." Anyone committing a felony during wartime would automatically get a free ride into the Army and then off to Baghdad. My guess is crime would be cut in half overnight!