(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Lindsay Lohan *Exclusive* (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
Lindsay Lohan is now home after serving what was supposed to be a 30-day senetence in LA County Jail in all of 5 hours. How should she spend her time?
Writing thank you notes.
Lohan's short stay is a direct result of California's civic dysfunction. Our governing and budget system produce longer criminal sentences than we have the money to fund.
Who should she thank?
In the near term, Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature, who adopted a "realignment" policy that shifts state prisoners to counties without giving counties the power to raise money to pay for more prisoners.
The result, many counties can't keep low-level offenders like Lohan in jail. There's little space and less money.
Lohan also might send a note of thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, which triggered realignment by ordering the release of tens of thousands of state prisoners.
That order was the product of years of litigation and advocacy by civil libertarians and prisoner rights' advocates, who challenged overcrowding and sub-standard prison health care.
But most of all, Lohan should send a thank-you note to California voters.
We're the ones, after all, who have voted for long prison sentences and tough-on-crime politicians while also voting to limit taxes and mandate other, non-prison spending that made such a mess of the prisons.
While a note would be nice, it would be even nicer if Lohan cleaned up her act, made some profitable films, and paid much more taxes to the state budget.
(I, for one, was glad to hear about the Playboy shoot -- strictly as a taxpayer).
In the meantime, she and her handlers could use her high profile to tell the public, through the ever-present tabloid reporters, that if you don't want people like her on the street, you need to fix the California governing system.