Gov. Brown Can Release Prisoners Early Without Compromising Public Safety

overcrowded prison

Lizzie Buchen: Keeping low-risk inmates behind bars does not enhance public safety; in fact, doing so may endanger the public, as excessive prison terms hamper reentry, damage families, and weaken communities.

I Have Questions; The Candidates Don’t Have Answers

third debate

Walter Brasch: Most of the questions—and responses—in the three presidential debates had been asked—and answered—several times during the campaign. But there are critical questions that were not asked.

LA’s Sheriffs Department, DA Rig Game Against Criminal Defendants

marisol orihuela

Marisol Orihuela: We have n oidea how many guilty pleas and guilty verdicts have stemmed from these illegal practices, but we have to stop this before it goes any further.

Undocumented and Unafraid

dream act

Janeth Silva: Not long after I started telling people I was undocumented and determined to go to college, I found out my friend Liz Soria was also undocumented and together we formed AB-540 Crew.

Time to Cut California’s Death Penalty

death penalty billboard

James Clark: Put another way, we spend $184 million more per year for death penalty inmates than we do on those sentenced to life without the chance of parole. All told, California is on track to spend $1 billion on the death penalty over the next five years.

Sexual Harassment Law Murker Than You Think

Marian Wang: In some cases, a person may be able to show that advances were unwelcome even though he or she didn’t protest or say so at the time. “Consensual” isn’t the same thing as ”welcome,” experts say.

Cut the Real Wasteful Government Spending

ronald reagan's star wars missile defense program

Mark Dempsey: The U.S. currently spends more than the rest of the world combined on its military but less than 2% of its budget on humanitarian aid, even if clean water would do more to promote peace.

Portantino Proposes Alternative to Early Release Prison Reform Efforts

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino

Anthony Portantino: Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced legislation that shifts the prison reform debate from an early release and sentencing reform emphasis to stopping the revolving door at California’s prisons.

Sanctuary Cities and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program: Two Things that Do Not Go Together

golden gate bridge

Michele Waslin: Despite the clear facts, radio-show hosts, politicians, and immigration restrictionists still want you to believe that cities receiving SCAAP reimbursements are providing “sanctuary” to criminals. Maybe next they’ll try to convince you immigrants are responsible for global warming and teenage obesity—wait, been there, done that.

Cut Death Penalty, Save California $126 Million a Year

Ramona Ripston: The California Supreme Court ‘sentenced’ our state’s taxpayers to an additional debt of $180,000 more per year last week.

Downsizing the Prison-Industrial Complex

Barry Krisberg (Peg Skorpinksi photo)

Cathy Cockrell: California’s obsession with incarceration — at $50K a year per adult, $250K per juvenile — is unsustainable, says criminologist Barry Krisberg

Friday Feedback: Prison Reform

Friday Feedback: People are understandably appalled when violent offenders get early release and go on to commit horrendous crimes, including the recent murder of Chelsea King for which a parolee has been arrested. What is less understood is that thousands of people — including juveniles as young as 13 — are being handed life sentences, including life without any possibility of parole.

Disproportionality is Killing America

Rich-and-Poor

David A. Love: America’s criminal justice system certainly is disproportional. In the land of the free, 5 percent of the world’s population boasts 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Bad drug laws and sentencing guidelines fill the prison cells with nonviolent offenders. The vast majority of these prisoners are black and Latino, not to mention poor and uneducated. The vast majority of the judges and lawyers are white.

The Criminal Alien Program: Big, Old, and Misunderstood

San Diego Border

Michele Waslin: Of course, identifying and removing dangerous criminal threats must be a priority for ICE. However, time and time again data show that their methods for prioritizing these individuals are flawed and have negative consequences for noncriminals who get caught in the system.

How to Visit Your Loved One for the Holidays

Prison

You know how much a visit means to someone who’s locked up. And you know that one of the major factors that prevents recidivism is for a prisoner to retain family and community ties. So you set the alarm and get up early and out of the house by 5:00 a.m. to drive the three hours up the Central Valley so you can be one of the first non-appointment visitors milling around waiting to be called.

‘Hispanic-Hunting’ Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Says He Will Deport Immigrants Himself If Feds Refuse

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Arpaio seems to believe that the White House is going out of its way to single him out and curb his immigration-policing powers for “political reasons.”

After Guantánamo: The Crisis of U.S. Prisons and Lessons from the Medieval Past

sos

The incoming Administration is to be lauded for its intention to dismantle the Guantánamo Bay prison, whose very existence, let alone the activities reportedly carried out within it, undermine the U.S.’s claim of promoting democracy and human rights. But if prisoners’ rights are evidently so important, and if we seem to agree that we are [...]

What’s New — and Wrong — about Proposition 9

The Proposition 9 initiative gives a variety of rights to crime victims — certainly a laudable goal, however most of these provisions merely duplicate guarantees already in force. The new provisions? Those are the troubling ones.

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