Shandre Delaney: As a prison abolitionist and advocate for the incarcerated with Human Rights Coalition, I feel it is imperative to be a part of the political process to demand change and be a part of that change.
Nell Bernstein: Advocates who fought fervently to pass Prop. 47 are facing what may be an even bigger battle: getting the state to cough up the money that voters agreed should go to communities affected by incarceration.
Buddy Bell: The word “administrative” is a euphemism for a facility which consists entirely of isolation cells, in this case 1,900 of them, according to the watchdog organization Solitary Watch.
Bruce Reilly: It is the older people, who have spent longer in prison, that are most prepared to start a new life; and we have the lowest rates of continued criminal activity. Yet starting a new life that includes an official job and an official home can literally be impossible for some.
Bruce Reilly: After prison we enter a world where we are pariahs. We are distrusted and hated and, at best, tolerated as long as we stay on our side of the street.
Randy Shaw: Brown retains his stubbornness on prison and state fiscal issues, but in his strong support for addressing income inequality he has surprised Californians again.
Joe Mathews: If Brown is criticized over the prisons and the possible human consequences of releases, all he’ll have to do is quote Scalia.
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.
Diane Lefer: As our Probation Department moves in the direction of reform, the good news is that the department recognizes the need for reentry services for kids coming out of the system–often traumatized, unable to read and write, set free on the mean streets in an abysmal job market while carrying the stigma of lockup.
Diane Lefer: why would anyone take on the challenge of cleaning up a department long known for abusing rather than helping the kids in its custody, losing track of money and ID badges, punishing whistleblowers and protecting wrongdoers?
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.
Dick Price: To get a handle on the damage California’s current approach to incarceration is having on its citizens, consider this: In a recent 23-year period, California erected 23 prisons—one a year, each costing roughly $100 million dollars annually to operate, with both Democratic and Republican governors occupying the statehouse—at the same time that it added just one campus to its vaunted university system, UC Merced.
Young men who are re-entering society from prison can’t find work. Recent studies on prisoner re-entry suggest that, in California, nearly 400 prisoners, A DAY, are being released into the community, with 70% to 90% of them being unemployed because only 20% of the state’s employers are willing to hire persons with convictions (no matter how long ago).