Governor Brown stands tall against the whimpering criminal supporters
A battle of words: Is it too late?
Richard Krupp, PhD
In an article I wrote on January 26, 2013, We’re lost, but we’re making good time; Governor Brown, this is your kingdom come, I suggested the Governor say no to the Supreme Court regarding the release of an additional 9,000 inmate to satisfy the realignment related population cap.
According to recent news articles in the Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, Governor Brown, while on a trade visit to China, said his administration will not comply with a federal court order rejecting his effort to avoid reducing California’s prison population, pledging to litigate “until the Supreme Court tells us that we’re not on the right track.”
He said he was unaware that a three-judge federal court had threatened to hold him and top prison officials in contempt of court, though he appeared unfazed by the prospect.
“The dispute follows U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton’s decision in April denying Brown’s bid to get prison health care out from under federal control. A panel consisting of Karlton and two other judges ordered the state in 2009 to reduce its prison population to improve health care in the system. Brown has refused to decrease the prison population by the required 9,000 inmates to reach the court-ordered level.”
“Look, California prisons are run by honorable men and women,” Brown said. “They’re doing the best job possible. We have, I believe from what I’m being advised, among the best health care in America and probably in the world. Now the judge sees it differently, and all I can say is I respect his differences, but we will take our case to the higher courts.”
I’m personally going to be taking my own personal inspection tour of those prisons which the judge feels are not up to snuff, and I will certainly listen and read what the critics say,” Brown said. “But I have to tell you the constitutional standard is deliberate indifference, and as far as I know there is no one deliberately indifferent to the health needs of California prisoners, and if I find such a person, he will be fired on the spot.”
Though I have been a critic of the entire realignment boondoggle and the Governor’s support of the failed plan, I am impressed with his current stance. Maybe he experienced an “airborne toxic event.” Just say NO, Governor Brown. Don’t pay any attention to the legal leeches claiming to be looking out for inmate medical care while they line their pockets with taxpayer dollars.
Attorney Don Specter with the Prison Law Office said, “The governor put himself in the center of this dispute by holding a press conference in January in which he announced that this was going to be the state’s policy. Brown has been thumbing his nose at the federal court for a year, he said. Threatening the governor with a contempt of court charge is the right call.”
“They’ve given him one, last, final chance to act like a responsible adult and like a responsible politician and follow the orders of the court,” said Specter. “And if he doesn’t, we will ask the court to throw the book at him.”
The Governor will need to stand tall against the judges who care little about the rights of the law abiding citizens of California.
Brown and other officials “will not be allowed to continue to violate the requirements of the Constitution of the United States,” the judges wrote.
“At no point over the past several months have defendants indicated any willingness to comply, or made any attempt to comply, with the orders of this court,” they said. “In fact, they have blatantly defied them.”
Maybe the Department of Corrections has found some backbone, Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, criticized the judges’ decision in a prepared statement. “The truth of the matter is that California has invested more than a billion dollars to transform its prison health care system into one of the best in the country,” her statement said. “Our prisons now provide timely and effective health care to inmates that far exceeds what the Constitution requires.
The comfort and care of criminals must always take a back seat to the people they have victimized. According to the California Constitution, ARTICLE 1, DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, SEC. 28. (a)(5):
Victims of crime have a collectively shared right to expect that persons convicted of committing criminal acts are sufficiently punished in both the manner and the length of the sentences imposed by the courts of the State of California. This right includes the right to expect that the punitive and deterrent effect of custodial sentences imposed by the courts will not be undercut or diminished by the granting of rights and privileges to prisoners that are not required by any provision of the United States Constitution or by the laws of this State to be granted to any person incarcerated in a penal or other custodial facility in this State as a punishment or correction for the commission of a crime.
This is the first step in the dismantling of the “realignment” nightmare. The next step is to figure out how to accommodate more inmates in the state prison system to meet the safety needs of the citizens of California.