Gov. Schwarzenegger to Appeal Prisoner Reduction Order to U.S. Supreme Court

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to seek a stay of the federal appeals court order directing California to reduce its prison population by 40,000 prisoners and appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Schwarzenegger backed a state senate bill that would have made reductions, and included provisions such as releasing elderly and severely ill prisoners, increased use of home detention for some inmates and, for low level offenders, reduced parole supervision and some minor sentencing reductions. But, the state assembly passed its own, weaker measure on Monday. [More...]

Is the Governor back-tracking?

In public, Schwarzenegger has said the state must deal with overcrowding because the prison system is "collapsing under its own weight" and contended his plan would not harm public safety.

But in the motion filed Tuesday, the governor argued that reducing the prison population as the judges have ordered would likely cause an increase in crime and strain local resources.

Or, is he taking protective measures since without an agreement between the state senate and assembly, the state won't be able to pass the legislation necessary to comply with the court order by the September 18th deadline?

In Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter, a former prosecutor for 20 years, has smartly approved a plan to free more inmates for budgetary reasons.

The cuts that took effect Tuesday call for the release of 3,500 of the 23,000 inmates over two years, saving the state about $45 million, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said.

An additional 2,600 parolees, or 21 percent of those currently on parole, will be released from intense supervision. Prisoners eligible for early release are those within six months of their mandatory release date. Those eligible for early parole release must have served at least half of their supervised term.

The cuts apply mostly to non-violent offenders. They are not applicable to sex offenders, and violent offenders will get greater scrutiny. Why is it smart? Other than the cost-savings:

In addition to early release, the state is implementing several recommendations by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice aimed at helping inmates find housing and jobs and get substance abuse treatment.

In other words, by releasing offenders early and saving money on their incarceration, the state can and will supply increased support services that are likely to reduce recidivism in the long term. That's being smart about crime, not just tough on crime.

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    Good thing they appealed it, and ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sumner on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:11:07 PM EST
    Lucky for the governor and legislators that no one was killed during the recent prison riot while the state officials were in non-compliance with the federal order, or they might have found out personally, just how easy it is for virtually anyone to become guilty of a serious crime.

    As if Sumner... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:36:26 PM EST
    the day a legislator or governor faces criminal charges for over-filling the prisons is never gonna come...though it could score you a medal of freedom.

    As long as the governor uses a lot of (none / 0) (#3)
    by hairspray on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:36:58 PM EST
    the savings on helping the parolees back into civilization with social supports and jobs, it is a good thing.  Unfortunately the legislature likes to take the savings and plow it into budget gaps.  If that happens then the whole thing could blow up.  We have a bad case in the news about a parolee who a  kidnapped a young girl 18 years ago and kept her and the children he impregnated her with in a backyard while several agencies were supposedly watching this very "high risk rapist".  This story is making the Californians very nervous.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by MrConservative on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:27:00 PM EST
    He kidnapped an 11 year old.  But he was paroled over 40 years ago, when the parole system in California was entirely different.  

    and that would be sad but typical (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 01:48:12 PM EST
    of people to use an isolated, singular event as a reason to reject needed policy changes.

    I have not written about that case because it has no greater significance -- yet I won't be surprised to see a bill pop up with the victim's name on it that provides ill-advised and unnecessary tougher penalties.

    California is not releasing sex offenders early, and neither are the other states:

    Scott Kernan, a deputy secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said that a man who had committed crimes like those that sent Mr. Garrido to prison initially would never have been released early from prison under the proposed law.

    "The bill doesn't reduce supervision on sex offenders," Mr. Kernan said. "It would affect nonviolent, low-risk, non-sex offenders."

    In fact, the bill would have made it possible to supervise sex offenders like Mr. Garrido even more closely, Mr. Kernan said, since the state's 2,100 parole agents would monitor some nonviolent offenders less and focus more resources on more dangerous parolees.

    The bill would also release some prisoners before they completed their final year in prison and monitor them with G.P.S. tracking devices or through community supervision programs. But under the plan, sex offenders like Mr. Garrido would not be eligible, Mr. Kernan said.

    Hot button panic pushing (none / 0) (#8)
    by Sumner on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:47:05 PM EST
    CNN's Headline News is playing up the crime in an around-the-clock, weeks on end, moral panic agitation that is tried and true and proven politically effective mass-marketing.

    Yet it is interesting that the same people behind the moral panic of these 2000's, seem to be some of the same big fish war criminals with ties to torture policies, namely, Orrin Hatch, Dianne Feinstein and Alberto Gonzales.

    The Senate Intelligence Committee has enough power to be behind such news cycles. Hatch and Feinstein sharply criticized the appointment of the Special Prosecutor, suggesting that maybe they have some of the most to hide. Gonzales worded his remarks in such a manner to suggest that the Yoo and Bybee memos were legal, (which they are not, they are the smoking guns of war crimes).

    Jay Rockefeller loathes the Internet and we know that the Senate Intelligence Committee is actively working to to retool it to serve their scheme of authoritarianism under the guise of monitoring and filtering for terrorism, file-sharing and child pornography, all treated at about the same threat level.

    The US government pressured Sweden to target pornography and file-sharing as if those were equal to terrorism and they managed to get Ukraine to ban both child and adult pornography. They pressured the  Eschelon members which have made despotic attempts on their respective populations to varying degreees of success and it would not be at all surprising to learn that the US pressured China ro ban these these as well.

    Now South Africa has jumped on that bandwagon and is posturing for an outright ban, too. Of course, all this sexual repression breeds psychosis, so that vicious circle necessitates ever more authoritarianism.

    If the Special Prosecutor can directly tie Hatch and Feinstein and Gonzales to the major war crimes like torture, we can begin to undo their moral panic they waged for so long as total control-freaks.


    Gah (none / 0) (#9)
    by MrConservative on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 03:58:19 PM EST
    I absolutely despise these rabble-rousers.

    please repost your comment without (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 02, 2009 at 02:03:42 PM EST
    the profanity. It's not allowed here. I'll give you a few minutes before deleting it.