Criminal justice: These guys are in serious need of marriage counseling
Just how far apart are Los Angeles County leaders on how to deal with "realignment," which puts counties, instead of the state, in charge of parole and a large chunk of the prisoner population? How far apart are county officials from criminal justice reformers, who think California is on the verge of embracing new "smart on crime" policies?
Far. Very far.
Watch, or read the transcript of, Tuesday's Board of Supervisors discussion on AB 109. And take my word for it: The county officials who were talking about impending doom, and the public commenters who were talking about positive change, were all referring to realignment and AB 109, the bill that takes effect Oct. 1. Even though they were talking completely past each other.
Then listen to Tuesday evening's discussion on KCRW's "Which Way L.A.?" featuring Susan Burton of "A New Way of Life Reentry Project," and me. And read Tuesday's Times editorial on the subject.
Then listen to Wednesday's "Which Way L.A.?" on the same issue, this time featuring Sheriff Lee Baca.
And finally, listen to Thursday's KPCC Patt Morrison program with Baca, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, Chief Probation Officer Don Blevins and county Department of Mental Health chief medical officer Roderick Shaner.
The KCRW programs are posted, but you may have to wait until next week for the Board of Supervisors transcript and the KPCC podcast.
Or, I can boil it down for you.
Cooley: Criminals will be running through the streets. Baca: We'll be a national model for educating prisoners. Blevins, depending on the day: We can handle this/We can't handle this. Burton: You're missing a golden opportunity. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: I told you so. Supervisor Gloria Molina: Everyone just grow up.
How ready, willing and able is Los Angeles County to play a constructive role in turning from a generation's worth of failed "tough on crime" laws and programs to a new, restorative justice, rehabilitation approach?
After you listen and read, see if you agree with my assessment:
Not at all.
Photo: Supervisor Gloria Molina. Credit: Los Angeles Times