Failure to tessellate
The pieces don’t fit together
Richard Krupp, PhD
Much of the crime trouble currently plaguing the citizens of California can be attributed to the prison system’s inability to deal with the Prison Law Office (PLO). Lawsuits brought by this group have pushed the realignment scam on us. On Christmas day the Sacramento Bee ran an article about Don Specter, a mainstay of the PLO. An Economics graduate of New College in Florida before getting a law degree, Specter thinks that through his lawsuits against the California Department of corrections over the years, he has, “Saved hundreds of lives and countless prisoners have been treated in a way they wouldn’t have been treated before for their medical and mental illness.”
Other highlights of the article include:
- “Many other states, when confronted with overcrowding, have used various alternatives to incarceration. California needs to find a rational, evidence-based, solution to the problem to keep its budget in check and maximize public safety, Specter said.”
- Jeanne Woodford, former director of the state prison system, said she credits him with “teaching the state how to do their job in many ways.” “People have a lot of feelings about criminal justice, and his role has really been to take the emotion out of it and go, ‘What does the evidence show works and doesn’t work?’ ” said Woodford, a past warden at San Quentin.
- “I can’t think of anything that Don asked us to do that reasonable people didn’t think was the right thing to do.”
- “Don recognized that it’s important how victory is defined, because it’s not just winning the litigation, it’s changing the underlying dynamics in the system that create the overcrowding,” Darrell Steinberg said.
- Chief goal in 2014: Enforcing the Supreme Court’s order to reduce the prison population
I think the PLO and Specter have actually cost the lives of many California citizens by helping criminals have more time in the community to victimize people. As far as Woodford is concerned, I believe she is an embarrassment to herself and the Department of Corrections.
A local newspaper, the Roseville Press Tribune ran an article on December 27, 2013, As crime rates rise, number of Roseville police officers hits five-year low. Highlights include:
- Budgeting for the City of Roseville has compelled its police department to reduce officer staffing by more than 10 bodies in the last five years, despite mounting evidence that California’s new criminal realignment is triggering a steep increase in property crime.
- Given that realignment was engineered because of overcrowding in state prisons, and given that the new law has since triggered overcrowding in county jails, a secondary element of PPIC’s new study involved looking for “non-incarceration strategies” for reducing property crime in California. Lofstrom and Raphael said their research indicates the one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing crime is adding higher police staffing levels in cities and counties
If you increase the number of police officers wouldn’t they arrest more criminals? Wouldn’t more criminals go to jail and to prison? Or would these be the kind of police officers who can prevent crime just by their mere presence in the community?
An article in the Los Angeles Times on December 28, 2013, Audit reveals defective GPS devices on LA criminals, indicates;
- One in every four GPS devices used to track serious criminals released in Los Angeles County has proved to be faulty, according to a probation department audit – allowing violent felons to roam undetected for days or, in some cases, weeks
- In Kern County, officials have instituted a “virtual jail.” San Bernardino County is using GPS to track its homeless felons. And Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has floated a proposal to move 3,000 inmates out of crowded jails and into the community wearing GPS trackers.
- California corrections officials were aware of widespread, serious problems in their program. Citing an “imminent danger” to the public, the state in 2011 replaced the GPS monitors on half of the paroled sex offenders
- In a detailed written response to the audit, sent to the county Nov. 27, Sentinel contended that the majority of the problems were caused by untrained probation officers and felons who had failed to follow directions.
- The company also has suggested that Los Angeles County could extend the battery life on its GPS devices by collecting location data less frequently – a proposal the probation department has rejected.
- GPS trackers on 3,000 jail inmates? Based on the GPS success thus far?
- Felons failing to follow directions? That would be a first.
- Extend battery life by monitoring less? Turn them off at night and on weekends and use even less power. Criminals only work 9-5, don’t they?
According to the latest CDC inmate population projections report, the institution population is projected to continue to increase through June 30, 2019, when it is expected to reach 142,990. This projected increase is due primarily to a projected increase in admissions from court. During fiscal year 2012-13, more new admissions from court arrived than were expected.
My comment: Imagine that, criminals continue to commit crimes even after they are re-aligned. Who could have guessed that would happen?
An ass-backwards effort to save the lives or coddle prison inmates, mixed with equal parts poor prison system executives, and nonsensical correctional fads like GPS monitoring have failed to tessellate. Instead of piecing together a mosaic of programs and services to make us safer, we are all less safe. Public safety is supposed to be the primary job of government. Our government has failed to do its job.
Sounds like Don Specter, Jeanne Woodford, Darrell Steinberg and their ilk see the criminals as children with problems. Drug or mental problems. Children they can help with magical talk-therapy. I tend to see the criminals as bad people, some are even monsters. I found a catchy song, Let Go, and interesting video for the those of the criminal as children. Here are selected lyrics followed by the music video.
I’m here for you
Just try to stay sober
It’s eating you
And they say you are a monster
But what I see is a child
Your eyes are glowing red
And your tongue has caught on fire
So let go, let go of your fire
Live it up till we crash
In the smoke and the ash
You play up to them
But they’re not around
Don’t be so rough with me
You are a gem
And they ask how I can love you when all they see is this
But I see things that you can’t contain
And what it does to you