Along with funneling some 38,000 prison inmates to county jails, Governor Jerry Brown’s budget, if passed, would slowly and steadily dismantle much of the state’s parole system. According to a document released by the Parole Agent Association of California, there are a number of major changes planned:
- Only those convicted of serious and violent offenses, sex crimes, or those being released after their third strike offense would be supervised by parole agents after leaving prison. Currently, nearly every person leaving prison goes on parole supervision, meaning they have to check in with a parole agent, obey certain rules (like curfews, drug tests, sometimes wearing GPS bracelets), and give up certain rights (like not being searched without a warrant).
The Governor rethinks his plan for shifting inmates to local control.
Via Southern California Public Radio, Governor Jerry Brown has scaled back his proposal to shift large numbers of prison inmates and parolees to county jails and probation. The old plan received mixed reactions from law enforcement around the state, who were skeptical of counties’ ability to take over responsibility for masses of offenders:
This one reduces the number of criminals that local law enforcement would house, although, the state will pay a higher rate to house prisoners serving three years or more.
The revised plan also says locals would manage only parolees convicted of low-level or non-violent felonies. But Brown’s new plan also reduces the money the state would shift to the locals from more than $1 billion down to $800 million.
The more ambitious plan, which has apparently been scrapped, had called for potentially shutting down parole entirely and transferring a larger population of prisoners to county jail.
What’s one of the biggest public safety issues that no one cares (or maybe even knows) about? Reentry–the moment when an inmate leaves state prison and returns home, and all the pitfalls, complications, and life-changing decisions that happen in those first few days, weeks, and months of freedom. Or at least, that’s what San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was trying to convey at today’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee.
San Francisco has a particularly high rate of failure when it comes to reentry–78 percent return to prison within 3 years. That recidivism rate is 10 percent above the state average, which is already considered one of the highest in the nation. Yet when it comes to this population of parolees, ”people are not connecting the dots” between helping them succeed and keeping the city safe, Mirkarimi said. When it comes to preventing crime through preventing re-offending, “I don’t think the general public has wrapped their head around how holistic this problem is.”
In California, there are two versions of the criminal sentence “life in prison.” One offers the possibility of parole, the other does not. Similarly, there are two ways to get out of prison on parole. The average inmate serves his or her predetermined sentence and when let out, automatically becomes a parolee. For someone in prison on a sentence of “life with the possibility of parole,” the inmate must be found eligible for release by the Board of Parole Hearings. And apparently, that just doesn’t happen too often.
Recent high-profile assaults have raised concern about non-revocable parole status It’s a way of getting the prison population down, but not everyone sees unsupervised parole as a productive. (Inside Bay Area)
Some district attorneys and police chiefs support Proposition 19 Not in Marin, despite the county’s pro-pot culture. (Marin Independent Journal)
‘I Love New York’ contestant gets 50 years to life In the SF murder of 28-year-old Seu Keka at the Sunnydale Housing projects in Visitacion Valley. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Niners beat the Raiders And a post-game fight leaves one beaten, one stabbed at Candlestick (SF Appeal)
Medical marijuana for the masses Is Proposition 19 just a formality? (The San Jose Mercury News)
District 2 supervisors’ race Public safety is an issue in SF, but not as much in District 2 neighborhoods like the Marina, where parking and traffic are at top of the supervisor race debates. (San Francisco Chronicle)
We have a budget! (A few months late, but hey.) Closing a $17.9 billion shortfall will apparently involve federal aid, some delayed tax breaks, and here-and-there spending adjustments. And about $7.5 billion in cuts, including $1.1 billion from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. So where will that corrections money come from? We have some inkling:
State restocks its execution drug Court filing says the state obtained 12 grams of the momentarily scarce drug, sodium thiopental, the first of three drugs used in California’s lethal injection procedure. (Inside Bay Area)
Gascon: SFPD could lose 25 percent of department in five years “The problem again, at the end of the day, comes down to money,” the Police Chief says. (SF Appeal)
San Francisco Bay Guardian-Endorsements 2010 The paper says “YES YES YES” to Proposition 19. (sfbg.com)
Governor’s parole veto in baby killing overruled Court says that you can’t keep denying parole solely on the grounds that the original crime was horrible. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Hint of possible plea deal in the offing for Tracy torture suspects Charged with holding captive and abusing a teen boy, the suspects will appear in court Friday. (Inside Bay Area)
We published an interview last week with California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher on a new law that he authored, Chelsea’s Law. The new law makes prison and parole sentences longer for certain violent sex offenders. Reader Wallsjoyce143 wrote in with a question about a case she knows about where an accused person has been charged, but not yet brought to court:
“what about the violent sex offenders that are in custody awaiting trial? will this law apply to them?”
I asked Assemblyman Fletcher’s office that question and here’s what Spokeswoman Ericka Perryman said: