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Most commented: One in 12 prisoners too risky for 'non-revocable parole'

Prison 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.

-- guajolotl

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.

-- hdtvcamera

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?

Reality Check! 

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."

-- rogerramjet5


Weiner obsession

Economy blame-game

Defining Israel's borders

Funding education for illegal immigrants

'Dumb Americans' who went hiking in Iran

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Inmates at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino.  Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters


Comments () | Archives (10)

The comments to this entry are closed.


Yeah...those guys look friendly! I'd feel totally confident with the lot of them walking behind me on a dark street at night.


If these crooks don't belong prison, why did the police, then the DA, then the judge lock them up?? I've got an idea. Fire law enforcment, judges etc. and save millions of dollars. If these people don't belong in prison-why not?


such nice boys, and handsome too!

Gray, Germany

Imho malibu1369's point should have been included in this roundup:
"The good senator has used an article that the Times has since corrected to make his point. Using innacurate reporting to prove a point shows his pandering drivel."

Also, CannabisAmbassador:
"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. How does the fact that the CDC and Probations department were criminally negligent in their jobs reflect that the need to let out of jail non violent and victimless inmates?"

K. McConkey

The question of whether prisoners should be released can be debated. But for me the huge issue this story also reveals is the utter failure of the administative and technical systems of the state of California!
Who tested and approved this computer system? Why is the data missing? How can it take YEARS to get data entered into the database?
Who is the administrator that has let data entry get this far behind?

Of course the program should stop with that kind of error rate. But the governor better kick some butt among the admin/tech state employees who let this get so out of hand. Firing people doesn't cost anything. Ultimately, redesigning and recreating effecient admin/tech systems will -- but if we don't have fundamentally sound unlying systems, it's all window-dressing.


Throughout history, whenever prison systems reached critical mass, reform followed. Slowly, each prison reform brought with it new ideas for how to make the system a little more humane, which, in turn, brought about progressively more desirable results in parolee behavior than had previous systems. The current American prison system, however, is a strange mix of the first 2 historical systems, seeming to not want to let go completely of torture as punishment beyond the sentence, or the money-making potential underlying the system. The 3rd system, and the one historically proven to get the best results, was the one which implemented indeterminate sentences and let the prisoners take responsibility for their actions inside. This means that all those who acted responsibly were released early (w/supervision) based on a merit system, and those who didn't act responsibly, did their entire allotted time - no matter what the offense. But that's not all. The 3rd system enacted treatment of prisoners that showed respect for life, which included giving them the same opportunity to be educated as those on the outside.
Education, Respect of human life, Responsibility for implementing the opportunity to change the quality of life... This is something that is supposed to be happening inside prisons already, according to CA penal code section 5054, but is not. Why isn't it being upheld? Good question. The past 30 years in CA's prison system have taken us backward rather than forward in prison and criminal justice reformation. The Supreme Court Order is proof that critical mass has again been reached in prison history. It's time for Reform. I hope the public realizes that this is what is best for everyone, not only for prisoners. It deserves serious attention.


Three-time losers and anyone considered too dangerous to parole should be executed on a production basis, same as they are on mainland China.


California is such a dump now. Really a shame.


i have been dealing with my case for 5 years now. the little time i spent in prison to know that it dodsnt work as wel as people think. many many people are on parole due to sticked probation.(myself) i was on probation for two years. A violation of a condition that had nothing to do with my case sent me to prison. Now on parole with more harsh conditions. i do nothing wrong and follow all rules but some agents look for stuff that a parolee MIGHT do and violate to go back to prison for a few months. Then again and again. if i had this non revocable parole id be in a better financial situation. i believe the program would work if the rules would be as such: non revocable parole for those who are qualified by parole agent,Dr.,parole board whom ever.and to lead parolees on the right path,3 years minimum for any crime while in this program plus face charges and time for crime. i think many people would fly right if so.
as for my self....no problems out of me. My PO dose not hound me and i give him no reason to. that program is meant for people like me. but the people with murders....wow. I don't know about that. they all should be watched very close as well as gang members


Unbelievable !! Ted say's let's build more prisons and the party needs to get out of their political world to see what is happening? Ted, you and both parties need to go to prison and see what's happening to inmates who will someday be released ! No rehab or anything that will bring them back to society, violent or not ! Building more prisons mean more released fools who joined a hard life with idiots. Rehab these guys with God and skills and monitor their progress through these programs and only those with true convictions be released to help their communities. Otherwise their failure will keep them in.



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