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Governor should release non-violent criminals, not send them to counties

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Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:29 am, Wed Jul 27, 2011.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the state of California to reduce the state prison population by 30,000 inmates and has given them two years to do so. Instead of releasing inmates convicted of non-violent crimes, the governor and the legislature have opted to transfer prisoners to county jails.

The population of the state prison system increases each year because more men and women are arrested, prosecuted and convicted than are released. Therefore the totals in both the state prisons and the county jails will continue to increase.

When the county jails are filled, then what? Twenty to 25 percent of state prison inmates have been convicted of mere possession of illegal drugs. Many, if not all, could be pardoned by the governor without any danger to the citizens of California, but that simple solution would be politically incorrect. Police, prosecutors, judges and prison guards depend on the continual increase in arrests, prosecutions, sentences and incarcerations for their livelihood.

Together they own the governor and the Legislature, so nothing will be done to reduce the total population of incarcerated men and women. It costs $8 billion to run the state prison system, and that will increase even without the building of new prisons. The governor and the Legislature will never do the right thing.

Cliff Shirk


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Kim Lee posted at 12:31 am on Mon, Aug 1, 2011.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798

    Good points, Joe, Kevin and Jay.

    Jay: How would you decide on which criminals would be released? Some drug offenses are pretty bad and the criminal's behavior could very well put innocent people in danger once they are released. How do you think the governor would make these decisions?

  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:32 am on Sun, Jul 31, 2011.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2862

    I suppose it's good to know who is your friend or foe. But even indigenous tribes thoughout the world are smart enought to know their War Paint should not be permanent.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:25 am on Sun, Jul 31, 2011.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2862

    Good points, Joe. And many of these criminals seem to want to remain this way
    with their tattoos that tidentify their gang affiliations. It's almost like a self-fullfilling prophecy for them.

  • Cliff Shirk posted at 12:18 pm on Fri, Jul 29, 2011.

    Cliff Shirk Posts: 14

    I'd love to see the state rid itself of Mexican nationals in the prison system, but would Mexico accept them? I don't think so. Rewriting the "Three-strikes" law would also be beneficial, but even if the legislature made the attempt, they would debate the subject for two years and end up doing nothing. That seems to be the way they traditionally do business, except when it comes to passing new regulations and increasing taxes. Issuing pardons can be accomplished quickly and it only takes one man, the governor, if he has the gonads.

  • Joe Baxter posted at 2:37 pm on Wed, Jul 27, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1913

    JAY, unfortunately, when most of these bozo's go to prison for the first time, they strengthen their gang affiliations and hone their criminal skills. Not only are they not "re-habilitated" but when they get released, they are a lot more dangerous than before they were incarcerated. Kind of like a Finishing School for Criminals. Being in prison gives them status on the streets.

  • Jay Samone posted at 11:28 am on Wed, Jul 27, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    The problem with deporting illegal aliens is that you can't deport them until after they have served their time in the criminal justice system. CDCR does attempt to deport some of them in many cases, but they also have plenty of excuses not to deport them ($$). Aside from that, there's quite a bit wrong with this letter. It's not about releasing non-violent offenders, it's about repealing certain portions of the three strikes law and looking at sentencing guidelines for specific offenses. There are plenty of laws that were created based on the "war on drugs" which only serves to warehouse addicts instead of rehabbing them in an attempt to prevent further incarceration - then you get the "three strikers" who are essentially drug addicts that commit crimes to feed their addictions and end up in prison for life. I'm not a "thug lover" nor do I advocate for inmates, I just think there is dire need for REAL reform, not just the reform this department does only when it gets sued and is forced to comply by a federal judge.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:13 am on Wed, Jul 27, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    I was going to say the same thing, Joe. Maybe a few less illegal immigrants would commit crimes in the US if they knew they would be sent back to their home country where the prisons are not as country-clubish.

  • Joe Baxter posted at 7:14 am on Wed, Jul 27, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1913

    There are an estimated 20,000 plus ILLEGAL aliens, mostly from Mexico, incarcerated in California prisons. We should charge the Mexican government for the cost of their incarceration. If they don't pay then boycott Mexico tourism and trade until they do. And, preferrablyt, if they don't want to pay, they can always come and get them and take them back to Mexico. Incarcerated ILLEGAL aliens from other countries should be deported.


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