As more violent, dangerous criminals are shuffled out of state prisons, local jails must house not only greater numbers of inmates, but also more dangerous inmates than they were designed to hold. As the Governor marches inexorably towards lowering the population of individuals incarcerated in state facilities his plan increasingly raises the population of dangerous offenders on the streets as eventually, even they must be released to bring in other violent offenders. This makes no sense- shorter sentences do not deter potential or repeat offenders! The only thing that can be said is that this irresponsible program has further exacerbated the “revolving door” of California criminals.
We can see the evidence of this in our own district. Recently, three men were arrested in Loomis for evading officers after firing stolen guns out of a moving vehicle. One of these men was being supervised by probation officers after being released from jail under this system because he was classified as “nonviolent” and “non-serious.”
We will know soon whether Federal Judges will allow a three year reprieve of their mandate that the state reduce its prison population. If a reprieve is granted, up to $200 Million would be spent to reduce criminal recidivism. If a reprieve is not granted, $315 Million would be spent to shift prisoners from state prisons to instate and out of state private correctional facilities. While I am unhappy that we still don’t have details on the specifics of how this money will be spent, I am excited to finally be taking steps to mitigate the early release disaster.
Keeping Californians safe while simultaneously balancing the need for fiscal responsibility is and should be the priority of state government. That is why I refuse to ignore the consequences of this dangerous program that does neither of those things.
The Office of Assemblywoman Beth Gaines. Updates and information on what is happening in the State Capitol and the 6th Assembly District including much of El Dorado County.