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June 13, 2009

"California Inmate Plan Draws Ire"

The title of this post is the headline of this article in today's Wall Street Journal.  Here are excerpts from the start of the article:

California spent the past two decades making criminals pay ever-higher prices for their misdeeds, with stricter enforcement and stiffer sentences. Now, the high price of housing its inmate population has the cash-strapped state looking to dump thousands of future convicts into crowded local jails.

The proposal is part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to help Sacramento overcome a $21 billion budget deficit projected for the fiscal year beginning in July. The governor wants to change sentencing guidelines so that offenders who commit such low-level felonies as auto theft or drug possession could be charged with only misdemeanors -- allowing them to serve sentences in county jails instead of state prisons.

Local law-enforcement officials warn that an influx of new inmates could force them to release their own prisoners to make room. Changing sentencing guidelines would eventually steer 20,000 inmates away from state prisons to county jails, Mr. Schwarzenegger estimates. California's county jails now hold about 80,000 inmates, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Mr. Schwarzenegger estimates the plan would save the state about $1.1 billion over the next three years. If state lawmakers approve the idea, along with a range of other options being negotiated -- such as closing state parks and cutting school budgets -- it could be in place as early as July....

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Friday that Mr. Schwarzenegger's plan would "result in the undesirable release of some offenders." Los Angeles County has the state's largest jail system, with seven facilities housing nearly 20,000 prisoners. The L.A. County system is already near its court-ordered capacity cap, said sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore. The governor's proposal could result in about 4,000 more inmates sent to county jails every year, he said, and "there is no place to put those inmates."

June 13, 2009 at 04:23 PM | Permalink


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Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 13, 2009 4:56:32 PM

I despise this propaganda. 123D to propaganda. This article was probably organized by the prison guard union and fed to the FoxNews propaganda cycle. What did the Policy Analyst really say? Here is a less than 3 minute video in Paul Golaszewski's own words.

The article does not say these crimes are wobblers but implies straight felonies will become misdemeanors, and the Legislative Analyst's Office recommends: Change crimes from wobblers to misdemeanors (pdf). It will SAVE money for the state and the counties. Nor does the article even suggest the the counties consider any alternative sentencing options that would not only save money and relieve jail crowding, but could increase public safety.

Another doomsday propaganda campaign brought to you by the usual suspects: "Either you do what we say or we're all going die!"

Posted by: George | Jun 13, 2009 5:43:27 PM

Study: Parolees face dearth of services
By Josh Richman
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 06/11/2009 12:01:00 AM PDT
Updated: 06/11/2009 05:49:11 AM PDT

California parolees have a higher-than-average need for drug treatment, health care and mental health services, but tend to return to communities where such services are severely strained, according to a think-tank report.

Alameda County is one of four counties profiled in the new RAND Corp. study, which found parolees face a hard-to-navigate patchwork of service providers — nonprofit clinics, county hospitals and clinics, and a few specialized programs — that are often unable to keep up with demand.

"California has one of the nation's largest prison populations, but the state has not made as much progress as other states in funding re-entry health care and other services for parolees," said Lois Davis, the study's lead author and a RAND senior policy researcher.

Posted by: George | Jun 13, 2009 6:13:32 PM

Good thought with this one.


Posted by: lucas law center | Jun 30, 2009 5:20:11 AM

I'm the mother of a repeat parole violator. His major crime was 17 years ago. He has committed no crime other than repeat drug use and (I admit, ignorant) parole violations. He has received NO rehabilitation in prison. The training programs are nearly impossible to get into as so many inmates use the programs for all the wrong reasons. It takes weeks or months to talk to a counselor. I'm a responsible citizen, government employee and taxpayer and I would much prefer seeing my tax dollars go to SERIOUS rehabilitation, SERIOUS penalties for those who create violence inside and SERIOUS programs to get parolees back to work, possibly in the form of mandated work programs and mandated drug rehab programs.

Posted by: SSP | Sep 20, 2009 9:00:47 PM

I am a Legal Secretary. I propose releases for Defendants who are in jail or prison who have a supporting family waiting for them that this be taken into consideration. Ankle monitor is an excellent program. If an inmate has a place to go and live and receives an ankle monitor the state can make money by the fees that they pay while being on ankle monitoring versus. The cost to the state of the Defendant being in jail or prison. I really believe that a person convicted of a 211 for the first time and $150.00 worth property was taken and no one was shot, killed or assaulted in anyway, a prison sentence of 12 years is EXTREME. I feel the gun law should be revamped to "real killers". Also, the bail for PC 211 of 500,000.00 in Fresno County is unconsitutional. This county is truly not following the 8th amendment regarding the bail schedule. If a person is allowed to bail out it would give them an opportunity to go back to work or become a better citizen before they have to be sent to prison for 12 years. I know this first hand. My son's attorney worked a deal for the DA in Fresno county (because it was certainly not a deal for my son)to have my son take a plea of 12 years for a robbery. My son wanted to go to trial (which is his right) but was scared to death that his attorney was more in the corner of the DA than him, so he signed the deal. A 21 year old is serving 12 years. If his 8th amendment right was followed and his bail was not 500,000.00 he could have bailed out and help fight his case better. He is 24 years old now and coming up on 3 years of being incarserated. He spent 2 years in the Fresno County jail and now is serving in Old Folsom Prison. My husband and I would be willing to help out with his rehabilitation and accept him being on ankle monitor. I am writing this because I beleive this will work for my son and possibly other Defendants who have waiting families.

Posted by: Beverly | Jan 20, 2010 11:37:28 PM

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