It is hard to defend government waste during a recession. After all the bailouts and bonuses, the public is sick of pricey handouts. Yet state governments still spend small fortunes on people like Paul Rivers.
Rivers robbed an espresso stand in 1994, swiping $337 from an attendant, and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole under Washington state’s “three strikes and you’re out” law. After a push in the 1990s, about 29 states now have such laws. They have not aged well.