Skip to comments.CA: Major parole moves on the table. Governor's ideas would reduce prison population, save millions
Posted on 12/27/2003 9:43:20 AM PST by John JorsettEdited on 04/12/2004 6:02:22 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
Convinced that California can no longer afford its $5.3 billion prison and parole system, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration is exploring moves that would all but eliminate parole conditions for nonviolent, nonserious offenders and eventually -- through early release and lighter penalties -- dramatically shrink the prison population. Some of the moves result from recent court settlements. Others are efforts whose planning began under former Gov. Gray Davis and have been speeded up by Schwarzenegger.
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...
By all means, let's parole the nonthreatening inmates!!
Isn't it amazing how politicians spent a decade or two getting votes by promising to lock up more people and now politicians are going to be getting votes by promising to save money by releasing the nonthreatening inmates?
Why are we such suckers to play this game?
Yeah, I agree with you, but in the eighties, it was expedient for politicians to be irrational about crime. The idea was to legislate justice in individual cases and to take away the discretion of judges and even prosecutors - mandatory sentences were good for a lot of votes.
There were of course voices warning that this day would come, but no one listened. Mostly, we just lost a lot of money and we've got plenty of that in this country. ;-)
Does this mean they never had a chance? Give us a break! I may be a hard case but I believe if you do the crime, you ought to do the time. End of story.
We could take some of our illegal guests and make them COs. They work cheap and aren't bothered by lack of a fancy retirement program.
What do you think Arnie? You'd be a hero to the Hispanic caucus, California would save millions and we'd keep in tack the deterrent value of sentencing guidelines that have dramatically reduced criminal activity in California.
We could even require these new COs to reside inside the walls and we'd have a double win-win situation
I think "3 strikes" was a major component to the drop in violent crime, and letting the nonviolent ones out wouldn't reverse 3 strikes.
He should keep those working for the violent drug cartels locked up obviously --- but California prisons contain an awful lot of Mexican criminals --- drug users, DWI's, shoplifters, bad check writers who could be sent back to their own government and taxpayers to deal with. I wouldn't release any of those here but if they're deported and banned from reentry it could help cut costs.
Then there's all this nonsensical "mandatory jail" stuff where the Judge's power to determine extenuating or mitigating circumstances is stripped away and he is reduced to a human rubber stamp. And let's not forget all these "hate crimes" they came up with that punish the person for both the crime and his alleged thoughts. Of courese there's the Draconian "three strikes" laws that turn life into a sporting event and sends 'career criminals' away for life for doing such horrible things as stealing a pizza or a bag of golf clubs, (yes, these are on record in CA). Then there's the WOD that sometimes sends a highschool kid to jail for possession of a roach.
Let's face it, there are way too many people in jails today for committing the pettiest of crimes, and way too many wealthy, famous or politically connected criminals who are always found not guilty. It's become a system of whose got the connections, fame and $$$$$$$ more now than ever before. The famous entertainer type will almost always walk, the wealthy will more often than not buy 'justice', those connected to the "law enforcement system" are specially privileged, and the poor fill the prisons.
I didn't grow up in an America like this and it's nice to see things beginning to change somewhere.
I'm not sure anyone would disagree with that.
Immigration is of course another issue in which the public is being taken for a ride. Politicians of both parties pretend to be opposed to illegal immigration, but enough politicians of both parties either quietly believe or are paid to quietly believe that illegal immigrants are a net boon to our economy as a whole or are at least crucial to those sectors of our economy who pay these politicians to think that way. As a result, very few politicians are willing to take the step (heavy employer sanctions) that would be required to really curtail illegal immigration. Instead, we have politicians who pander to the public by proposing walls and troops along our borders - "solutions" they know will not interfere with the economic needs of their patrons. Right now, of course, the public is being prepared for an upgrade in the status of illegal immigrants. That's always a tricky one, but don't underestimate our politicians - these guys are good! LOL.
Would you consider someone who broke into a house and stole property "Non-Violent" if they did it when no one was home?
If that's the only crime under consideration, yes.
<That's the question I keep asking myself at every election.
I say theves who break into houses are violent, they hurt people and they should be locked away for 40 years.
The pattern is set when they first start through the joke of a juvenile justice system that pats them on the hand and tells them not to do it again...oh, say 10 or more times before they start to punish them with community service..playing basket ball with under previliged kids, or picking up some trash at the most.
A burglar is not a violent criminal but he commists dozens of burglaries a year usually about $3,000 per household....YOUR insurance goes up as a result of all these burglaries. Same goes for a car thief and your car ins goes up as a result.
Each court appearance cost about $5,000.
One case in Memphis I happened to hear while waiting for my son's killer to be tried...Your honor my client is NOT in your court because he is in judge so and so court downstairs. This 1 criminal tied up two judges, two prosecutors and two defense lawyers.
About 40% of the cost of prison is prisoner AMENITIES according to John Diliulio.
There is a Reader's Digest (1994) article "Why Must our Prisons be RESORTS" it details the "goodies" our prisoners enjoy. Your blood will boil when you read about these goodies which include conjucial visits which produce a few more welfare babies for you to support.
READER'S DIGEST NOVEMBER 1994 BY ROBERT JAMES BIDINOTTO MUST OUR PRISONS BE RESORTS?
Mercer Regional Correctional Facility is a complex of tidy brick buildings situated in the rolling countryside of western Pennsylvania. From a distance, a visitor might mistake this state prison with its manicured green lawns for one of the nearby liberal arts colleges.
In his office, Superintendent Gilbert Walters explains that Mercer's 850 convicted felons "aren't evil, by and large. Many just did not have good life circumstances and have reacted inappropriately." Walters, who began his career in counseling and refers to the inmates as "clients," tries to make the prison experience "as much like the street as I can."
It's hard to imagine that, for most of Mercer's "clients," life outside could be this good. One of the three full time "activities directors" shows me the Recreation Building. "Nothing cheap here," he says proudly, pointing out the full sized basketball court, hand ball area, punching bag and volleyball net. There are enough barbells to "bulk up" 15 criminals at a time; others can use weight lifting machines. Nine electronic exercise bicycles and four stair type aerobics machines face a TV, all part of the Leisure Fitness Program. Outside, the men can play softball and sharpen their tennis skills. Emotional problems? Five psychologists and ten counselors are there for Mercer's "clients."
Housing about a third of the inmates are two dormitories with 8x10 foot "rooms" (not cells) equipped with desks and bookshelves. As we enter one room, a chubby, middle aged man turns down the volume on his TV set. This housing unit, the guide says, shelters a "peer group" with "special needs"" largely rapists and child molesters. Mercer is not an exceptional institution; it is, in fact, typical. A nationwide Reader's Digest survey shows that in most prisons, felons have access to a startling array of creature comforts.
*Hard labor is out, physical fitness is in. From aerobics to strength training to boxing, today's thugs and armed robbers can return to the streets bigger, stronger and faster than ever. *When they're tired of working out, they can join theater groups, take music lessons or college courses--all for free. Or they can tune in the latest R-rated movies. *The overall cost of these prison amenities is soaring. They take up a huge portion of state correctional budgets, while thousand of violent criminals are released each year for lack of space. Inside New York's maximum security Attica prison, which houses many of the Empire State's most violent felons, there is an incongruous sight: three small white buildings, which some staffers call "the hotel." Here, a counselor schedules up to 18 inmates per week for sex with their wives. New York offers such facilities for so called private family visits at 14 of its prisons. In seven other states, including Washington, and New Mexico cottages, trailers, mobile homes, even tents are used.
When the inmates a few years ago rioted in Memphis at a federal prison, they did several million dollars in damage to the facility. They destroyed their MUSIC instruments in the process. We the TAXSERFS had to REPROVIDE them..at the tune of $2,500 per month (to avoid the bidding process) over a several month time frame. When the inmates as Shelby Co Jail rioted they damaged the facility to the tune of couple of million bucks...BUT they didn't touch their precious TVs.
I'm talking about behavior modification. They don't have to like it but some (not all, I agree) can be motivated to work. There is a lot worse punishment available than sitting on their butt in jail being feed while you and I support their families and pay for their crimes.
I'd classify as 'violent' those who break in while the home owners are present. I'd give anyone who was convicted a second for burglary a stiff sentence, and the third time, put them away until they're, oh, 65 or so.
Until Kalifornia decides to stop threatening me with prison for having a pistol grip on a rifle, I will not believe that they are serious about avoiding bankruptcy.
And I am certainly NOT going to approve borrowing $15 billion dollars to help them avoid the unintended consequences of their tyranny.
I agree. Even though they haven't done anything violent just by breaking in, they've shown that they are willing to be violent by risking a confrontation with the homeowner. Both times we were burglarized, I have no doubt that the burglars would have not given a thought to doing something horrible to me had I caught them in the act.
We were home during one burglary, but they only stole tools out of the garage so we didn't know until late that night when my husband checked the garage before going to bed. If I had walked into the garage to do laundry or anything else while they were there, do you think they would have put everything down and said they just wanted to be friends?
The second time, I had only gone back to work that week from summer vacation (teacher), and they burglarized the house only about an hour before I got home. I came home to a house with the back door wide open. They could easily have still been upstairs. I doubt in this case that things would have remained non-violent had I been home an hour sooner, which I easily could have.
What did you find dislusional? That we not only provide high quality basketball courts, or that we give them music instruments that they in turn can turn in to weapons...guitar strings make excellent garrot wire.
Bidinotto does EXCELLENT research. I could post what is written in Tennessee inmate handbooks. I've got two of them.
further excerpts from the RD article
Socializing with the outside world is also a feature of prison life. In Louisiana, the Angola prison Drama Club players (whose president is a convicted murderer) visits colleges and theaters. On the grounds of the Penitentiary of New Mexico near Santa Fe, some 1200 inmates and their guest whoop it up at the annual "Outta Joint" picnic. At last year's festivities, they were entertained by a clown, a puppet show, a political satire performance and eight bands.
Last March 19, in the $2 Million visitor' center at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk, the Lifers Group held its annual "Lifers Banquet." Some 33 convicts, mostly murderers, and 49 invited guests enjoyed catered prime rib dinners.
"Inmates are sent here as punishment, not for punishment, says Joseph T. Smith, Deputy Superintendent for Programs at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in New York State. In truth, nothing seems too much for society's predators.
How did the pendulum swing so far from the austere, even harsh conditions of the past? John J. DiIulio, a prominent political scientist at Princeton University who has studied and written about prisons for 15 years, explains: "Prisons used to emphasize inmate discipline and forced labor, and wardens ruled the cellblocks with an iron fist. Beginning in the 1960s, federal judges ruled only that prisoners were entitled to nutritious meals, basic health services and protection against arbitrary discipline at the hands of guards. But a number of federal judges went beyond such reasonable reforms and began ordering that prisoners be provided with expensive, untested treatment programs and a wide range of recreational opportunities regardless of the cost.
Last year, the Boston Globe reported, Massachusetts set up a Correctional Recovery Academy in its state prisons at a price tag of $1000 per inmate. A major component was yoga.
At the Dade Correctional Institution near Miami, members of the Inmates' Cultural Club have developed a taste for opera. Prison librarian Rolando Valdes obtained a series of federal grants and purchased a 50 inch TV and laser disc equipment. Each Saturday night, he conducts opera appreciation classes in the prison library. Funded by another government grant, several inmates have even written their own opera, El Caido-a tale of a prisoner who rehabilitates himself. Says co-composer Elton Edwards, a "lifer" convicted of murdering a home owner during a robbery, "its been great therapy for us."
Therapy for mental health, aggressive behavior, domestic violence, sex offenses and substance abuse has grown into a prison cottage industry. Yet after decades of attempting behavior modification, the overall results of rehabilitation and therapy are meager. When asked by Reader's Digest how many sex offenders he has rehabilitated in his years on the job one New York State prison counselor bluntly responded, "None."
Inmates, for their part, are not fools: participation in education and therapy can chip time off their terms. "The saying among inmates is 'get a program,' says criminologist Charles Logan of the University of Connecticut. "They know that it will help with the parole board."
Studies by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics have shown that between 60-70 percent of inmates revert to crime after release. (My note: current recidivisim rate is 68% according to the BJS) A model federal prison at Butner, N.C. applied every known rehabilitation technique to inmates for over a decade. The results: no reduction in recidivism and no improvement in convicts' employment prospects.
After extensive study of prison rehabilitation criminologist Logan concludes: "Despite claims to the contrary, no type of treatment has been effective in rehabilitating criminals or preventing future criminal behavior."
It's likely many will be released and deported? Sure. Billions more besides law enforcement and prisons are spent on ILLEGAL aliens by the state. Locals together spend billions more. Schwarzeneger is not likely to touch a dime of the state money and the feds (you guys) are expected to bail out the California cities and counties such as the recent billion dollar federal bailout for ILLEGAL'S health care. The money saved on prisons will simply be drained from other untouchable portions of state and local programs. I bet. Maybe citizens and legal residents could be cut off?
Some political cartoonist called it, Sinkhole de Mayo.
I came home after my house was broke into, and I felt more than irritated.
I felt more than a bite out of my wallet.
I felt that my rights to my property were not respected, and in truth my rights were VIOLATED.
Notice the close relationship between VIOLated and VIOLent?
If the law does not fully punish those who violate the sanctity of ones home, the law is then nothing but a joke, and no one is safe.
I'll have one out next Friday - thanks for asking. Once I'm finished with my Christmas shopping, I'll be able to work on it full-time. ;-)
I know it is! I'll be ready for it. I'm nearly done shopping.
Gray Davis or our Democrat-dominated legislature considered releasing "nonviolent" inmates about a year ago. Kentucky did it last year, and one of the "nonviolent" convicts raped a young woman soon after his early release.
The problem is that the "nonviolent" category of crimes includes crimes I might consider violent but don't meet the requirements to be considered "violent."
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