I recently reported that the Commonwealth of Kentucky was releasing 990 inmates early this week along with another 300 a month for the rest of the year until they meet the budget savings goal.
Gov. Jerry Brown has been trying to find ways to reduce the huge deficit in the state’s finances. One of the budget cuts he has initiated involves transferring more than 8,000 low-level offenders from state prisons to county jails. While this may help the state’s budget deficit, it’s definitely not going to help the counties receiving the extra inmates.
An added budget reduction measure is a program known as the Alternative Custody Program. There are approximately 10,000 women in California prisons and under the Alternative Custody Program as many as 5,000 of them may see an early release.
Under a new program, women convicted of low-level offenses may be allowed to qualify to serve the remainder of their time at their homes. To date, approximately 20 women have been allowed to return home to serve out the rest of their sentence. Additionally, this number may be increased to as many as 500.
Excuse me, but I thought that the term ‘prison’ or ‘jail’ meant a confinement away from home as a means of punishment for committing a crime. Allowing a woman to return home to serve her jail sentence is no deterrent to her or others. It’s the proverbial ‘slap on the wrist.’
The whole world laughs at the American penal system because of how it is run. There have been so many social do-gooders and prisoner rights activists involved that prisoners have more rights than the victims of their crimes. You can’t put too many prisoners in the same cell, judges have ruled that you have provide them with at least one cable channel on the television and you have to give them access to computers and the internet.
Prisoners sentenced to life are often eligible for parole in 20-25 years and a ten year sentence generally means about 2-3 years behind bars before they are released on parole. In California in 2004, there were 165,000 inmates in state prisons. There were 58,725 parolees that were sent back to prison while on parole. Of that 58,725, about 35,000 were sent back for committing a new crime while the rest were sent back for parole violations (carrying weapons, drugs, etc.).
So what makes California prison officials and Gov. Brown believe that these women that are allowed to serve the remainder of their sentences at home will not violate those terms or commit another crime? Another question that needs to be addressed to all those involved in early releases in California, Kentucky and any other state, is what kind of danger are they placing the general public in by releasing violent offenders as well as low-level offenders?
They need to remember one of the truths of life which is that actions have consequences, and these officials need to be held accountable for the consequences of their actions.