We are on the Assembly floor right now debating a number of issues, but today the Assembly and Senate will be debating on whether to grant
early release to over 40,000 prisoners over the next several years as a way of saving money in the Department of Corrections. It will also create a new sentencing commission aimed at reducing sentences of criminals indefinitely into the future!
I strongly disagree with this approach to cutting Corrections and will oppose efforts to release prisoners early. California spends twice as much per inmate as the national average, and that is the problem we should fix, not the number or prisoners we are housing. Where are 40,000 ex-cons going to find work while millions of law-abiding Californians are already unemployed? This policy is a recipe for recidivism and
doomed to fail. A government’s first priority is public safety, and releasing 40,000 criminals out of prison and on to our unemployment lines is an abdication of our duty.
This is even more true when one considers that the class of prisoners targeted for release are the same group that make up the bulk of our state’s inmate wildland firefighter crews, which our state has become increasingly reliant upon.
The people and even your legislators are once again being kept in the dark (thus the “Mushroom Alert” tag above) as to the exact details
of this bill and how it will affect public safety. There have been no public committee hearings on this bill, and as far as I can tell, the actual language of this bill (AB 3X 14) still isn’t available on-line to the public through the usual sources, and we have only this morning received an analysis from our own caucus. If you are interested, there is a link to the language of the bill that can be found here: http://senweb03.senate.ca.gov/focus/News/Documents/CorrectionsReform-20090818.pdf
I am interested in your input on this issue as we debate this bill on the floor today.