Most commented: One in 12 prisoners too risky for 'non-revocable parole'
Is "non-revocable parole" too dangerous a risk for California to take? That's the case state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) makes in Friday’s pages, in which he argues that the parole program is too poorly run to work properly. Here's an excerpt from his Op-Ed article.
Last year, I requested an investigation into how the law was being implemented. Two weeks ago, the Office of the Inspector General concluded its yearlong investigation, and the results were stunning: In just a six-month period last year, the Department of Corrections released up to 2,075 prisoners into the program who didn't fit the criteria established to qualify for such release, and 450 of them were at "high risk for violence." […]
In actual numbers, California's error rate means that nearly 1 in 12 prisoners released by the program are actually too violent or risky to qualify. Consider that as of last month, there are 13,554 ex-convicts on non-revocable parole status, and over time the high error rate would apply to hundreds of thousands of prisoners, resulting in a large release of dangerous and violent felons onto the streets without any parole supervision or conditions. […]
The dangers of the program are not theoretical. Absent an accurate database and the funds to maintain it, non-revocable parole must end. It is time for the Department of Corrections to decertify its failed computerized risk assessment and halt the program — before more people die.
Here is what readers are saying in reply to Lieu. From our discussion board:
We need this type of commitment to public safety
I am the mother of a murdered California police officer so I do try to stay current with prison issues and sentencing issues. Kudos to State Senator Ted Lieu for his well written and well researched op-ed article. I thank him for his commitment to public safety and for not ignoring the victims of crime. I also thank the LA Times for presenting this important article.
This is a social problem, not an individual problem
I have been reading for decades about prisoners being released. Not once has any mention been made of guaranteeing them a job after they get out. There is no rehabilitation or training. Unemployment made them turn to crime in the first place, then they get released into the same violent environment they came from, with no chance of earning a living. What the xxx do you expect? When are Americans going to realize this a social problem, not an individual problem? Countries with full employment (they do exist) have almost no crime.
Democrats caused this issue
The problem is that your party created this mess:
By not building prisons. Instead you voted to give the money that should have been spent on prisons to the prison guards because of their massive contributions to your party.
By giving the guards so much money and vacation that we can't afford to properly care for the existing prisoners. Even with the budget problem you voted to give the guards unlimited storage of their 8 weeks a year of vacation.
By supporting illegal occupation of California with social programs that don't require citizenship. Not every illegal immigrant is a person who wants to work hard for a better life. Since you believe citizenship should be self-service rather than and applied for and earned right, we are inundated with millions of poor, uneducated people.
Now you are forced to endanger the citizens that you were supposed to be serving by releasing violent criminals into society. Too bad you can't step outside your party politics to see the real harm you are causing to the public you are supposed to serve.
I invite you to respond to my allegations but I know you won't.
A solution pegged to the military
if you cut the Military budget a 5%, you can apply them to build more prisons ... this way no more releasing them killers, rapist etc .... or spend a bullet for each lifers in prison, cheaper that way
Can we really find a way to make a difference?
Nothing that has been or might be proposed can succeed or change anything, nor will it ever make anyone safer. It is all smoke and mirrors; politically prudent to talk about, and will neither accomplish or do anything significant to correct the legal system unless reform is implemented.
All of you paranoid people get over it, and live with it; things will never change unless, as has been suggested, [we] "lock up everyone except law enforcement."
--Alexandra Le Tellier
Photo: Inmates at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters