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July 22, 2009

"State police chiefs' association backs prison plan in budget"

The title of this post is the headline of this new Los Angeles Times article discussing the latest debates over the prison reform provisions in the new California budget plan.  Here is how the piece starts:

A day after Republican lawmakers threatened to back out of the state budget deal over a provision to cut the prison population, California police chiefs this morning threw their support behind the plan.  The endorsement by the California Police Chiefs' Assn. may ease nerves of elected officials from both parties about the plan to save $1.2 billion, which came under fire when details were revealed Tuesday....

Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian, president of the association, said today that the plan to reduce the inmate population by 27,000, partly by targeting specific offenders who behave well, are sick or have the least time to serve, takes "huge steps in the right direction." He said the plan was far better than an unvarnished early release of inmates that his group had feared would be approved by state leaders.

His eight-member board, which represents 338 chiefs statewide, voted unanimously to support it."We think that we've made a lot of progress," Melekian said. "We are very pleased about that, and we anticipate working very closely with them to implement this."

July 22, 2009 at 06:01 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Stories like this make me wonder just how much the pervasive ignorance, irrational fear and political posturing and demagoguery cost the average taxpayer in any given year.

Releasing lots of prisoners, many of whom probably shouldn't have been in prison in the first place, is the right thing to do.

Doing it in a dead economy seems certain to rekindle the get-tough sensibilities that packed prisons in the first place...with a lot of pious I-told-you-sos to boot.

Eagle scouts with master's degrees can't find work these days. Ex-cons have next to no chance. So recitivism and subsequent political opportunism seem likely to follow...with guess what effect, refilling the prisons.

Posted by: John K | Jul 23, 2009 2:56:29 PM

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