The long-troubled California state penitentiary has allowed another horrific crime to occur within its walls. Chad Ku of San Diego has been identified as the victim of a brutal murder while in prison custody. The suspect is his cellmate who is serving 70 years for murder. Ku was in Corcoran for relatively minor crimes. He has now paid the ultimate price because the prison administration could not ensure his safety.

No one doubts that the justice system should mete out punishment for those who have been convicted of crimes. However, when the state imprisons convicts, it has a sacred duty to protect the rights, dignity and safety of those it incarcerates. While Corcoran is not alone in its troubles, it serves as a symbol of much that is wrong within the prison-industrial complex in California and the United States as a whole.