Susan Kane, a PA III in charge of the sex offender unit here in Stockton, talked at some length on the segment. She was smart enough to make it clear she was NOT speaking for the department, though I am confident she will catch significant heat anyway. She pointed out that here, in San Joaquin County, sex offenders who are rolled up do less than 24 hours in jail in almost all circumstances. They talked at some length on camera with Jack Turned, a parolee sex offender who is routinely violated one or two times per week. He knows, and admitted he knows, that there are essentially zero consequences for refusing to obey conditions of parole.
They talked with Undersheriff John Picone, who said essentially the same thing. The jail is overcrowded and has a revolving door due to a court order.
They had an excellent interview with Judge Richard Guiliani, who is basically the jail door keeper. He is the man who decides who stays in custody and who gets out. He is not a sob-sister, he said very clearly that these people should NOT be getting released routinely.
A principal subject of the segment was Sidney Jerome Deavila. He is a revolving door client who is now in-custody on a homicide charge. After his 16th quickie release from a very, very brief parole roll-up he raped, robbed and murdered his grandmother in Stockton.
They had a brief chat with Martin Hoshino on camera. Hoshino blamed the judge for not being careful enough in reviewing realignment clients before release. Governor Brown refused to be interviewed for the piece, but his office commented that Realignment is working just fine (thank you very much), and also blamed the judge for not doing a careful enough review.
Cooper was clearly not impressed with the “realignment is wonderful” response. His closing statement pointed out that many of the people who actually work in the trenches with the criminal justice/corrections system view realignment as an unmitigated disaster, certain to get worse.
CNN is running a large segment from the piece at various times today. If you missed it last night you might want to check it out. I am not usually a CNN fan, but they did a very good job on this.
Clicking here will link to the piece. Thanks to Caroline for this link.
UPDATE: I received a note from Robert Denninger regarding this post. He asked me to add his comments to the post. For those of you who do not recognize the name, Mr. Denninger has been retired for some years but he had a lengthy career with the department and was the Chief Deputy Director for five years when he retired and therefore has significant been-there, done-that time. His comments are valuable. Please note that I am typing these in myself from hard copy. Any errors are mine, not his.
Bob, outstanding coverage of the Anderson Cooper/Drew Griffin, CNN investigative report on “Realignment” and Supervision of Sex Offenders in California! I thought the report was accurate and well done. Susan Kane hit the nail on the head. She is bright, an excellent correctional practitioner and a stand-up person. The corrections administration should commend her for making the report possible. However, I doubt that is their intention.
AB109 has worked well in one area, temporarily reducing the prison count; however, this has not satisfied the court. There is no proof realignment has had a significant rehabilitative impact. On the negative side, it has significantly undermined probation and parole supervision, exacerbated overcrowding and early releases in many county jails, and inundated many counties with felons (many of whom are running loose, unsupervised in our communities). Compounding these issues are the departments actions in early discharge of thousands of offenders including those violent and having significant mental health needs who had been recommended for retention on parole. The harm to public safety as a result of these actions is well documented throughout the state.
Prior Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate and Undersecretary of Operations Terry McDonald trumpeted realignment as a progressive step forward that would result in great fiscal savings, large scale rehabilitation and reduce prison overcrowding. It was stressed that the targeted population was low level (non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual). This was a gross misrepresentation which persists today; the only thing low level about many of the realigned is the title of their most recent commitment offense. More in-depth analysis reveals that many of the realigned have serious and lengthy criminal histories and present a high risk of reoffending. As documented by Drew Griffin, AB109 as written and implemented constitutes incentive for many repetitive offenders with well ingrained criminal life styles to remain unchanged.
Department of Corrections seasoned correctional practitioners, particularly parole administrators, attempted to advise the Secretary of potential problems with the legislation prior to implementation. After implementation, documentation of incidences of serious criminal conduct by the realigned were placed in the daily report to the Secretary and Inspector General.
The Undersecretary, Operations, thereafter ordered reporting of this data stopped and discouraged reporting of any negative data pertaining to “Realignment.” Thereafter, the Secretary removed the Director of Parole. This is a vivid example of the Director of Parole doing his job, trying to uphold public safety, attempting to advise superiors of serious adverse consequences of implementation of 'Realignment.” Undersecretary, Operations Terry McDonald, attempted to squelch reporting of any material which could be construed as reflecting in a negative fashion towards “Realignment.” She reportedly frequently labeled material “attorney-client privilege” to protect material from disclosure as required by the public records act.
Early on, had the Secretary and officials of the Department utilized an inclusive approach in planning “Realignment” that included operations staff, particularly the parole division, a more viable plan which enhanced public safety would have resulted.
These missteps have resulted in departmental employees committed to public safety with no viable internal departmental avenue for discussing their concerns. The result was seen last night.
It is hard for me to understand how Martin Hoshino, the Undersecretary, Operations or the Governor's staff can say with a straight face that implementation of “Realignment” is progressing well or even suggest that the problem might be that Judge Guiliani needed to refine his screening for early jail releases. I realize they have no experience as correctional practitioners, no correctional operations background, but how can there be such a disconnect with the real world?
It is obvious that much communication, fence mending, team building and enhancement of public safety are needed.