By Eric Siddall
Two events this past week sharpened the focus on why Proposition 57, Governor Brown’s initiative to release early tens of thousands of state inmates, is a dangerous experiment that should be rejected by voters.
The first was news that crime is continuing to rise in Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles for a second straight year. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, this rise in crime “continues last year’s trend across California. Statewide, violent offenses jumped 10% and property offenses 8% compared…” We have written about this rise in the crime rate since the passage of Proposition 47, including the fact that California’s property crime rate has risen while in the next five biggest states the property crime rate has dropped. Proposition 47, AB 109, and re-alignment-all early release experiments-have led to flood of convicted felons on our streets.
The second piece of news was the denial of parole to Manson family killer Leslie Van Houten. We strongly opposed a release approved by two members of the Board of Parole, and are glad Governor Brown overturned the parole board and blocked her release. This is not the first time these unelected bureaucrats made the wrong call with the governor reversing. This happened with the murderer of a San Diego Police Officer Archie Buggs. In another case, a felon convicted of conspiring to kill Los Angeles Police Detective Thomas Williams was granted parole and only after the governor ordered the parole board to reconsider was the parole grant rescinded.
These two pieces of news relate to each other because Proposition 57 will allow the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) staff to invent new sentence credits to ensure state prisoners are granted early. In addition, these same bureaucrats who want to grant early release for cop killers, will now have constitutional authority to grant early release by allowing inmates to avoid serving time imposed by judges for sentence enhancements. This constitutional mandate will make the governor, the legislature, the courts, and prosecutors powerless to stop or reverse their decisions. Proposition means this: No checks. No balances. CDCR and the parole board will have absolute power when it comes to the early release of murders and rapist.
Proposition 57 will simply pour an accelerant on the crime rate increase in California. It is an insult to crime victims, an undeserved gift to convicted criminals, dangerous to citizens everywhere-and must be defeated.