Op-Ed: Governor Brown’s Prison Reform Won’t Do What It Promises


Instead of following the court mandates to reduce prison overcrowding, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a new law – the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016.


This is another gesture that produces nothing substance because the true purpose is to prevent people from being released while pretending to alleviate the overcrowding.


It seems the federal courts are fed-up with these pranks, so they are prepared to take control by implementing measures that would drastically improve the situation, in the face of an out-of-control Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.


Governor Brown is trying to get an ineffective initiative placed on the November 2016 ballot for the electorate to pass, which will give him some cover from the onslaught of directives coming from the courts.


There is immense opposition that includes such powerful groups as the District Attorney Association, some defense attorneys and others who see this for what it is.


The basis for this initiative is supposed to be directed at juveniles, but the facts show that juveniles only represent a small portion of the prison population. What’s also so obvious is that he is referring to 13 and 14 year-old juveniles.


The ballot measure alleges that it will give 25,000 non-violent state prisoners an opportunity for parole. This also seems to be a farce because there are so many hurdles to overcome, making a release virtually impossible.


Furthermore, for life prisoners who have paid their debt to society, there’s nothing included that addresses their need to move toward being released.


Unlike the Choose1 initiative that is being proposed by a non-profit organization concerned about the well being of the prisoners and their families, Brown’s initiative is a shell game.


To alleviate the public’s skepticism, the governor could use his authority to make some changes now. Since a lot of the neglect, corruption and systemic abuse in the prison system occurred on Gov. Brown’s watch, that voters who want to avoid being tricked should study the initiative and ask him questions.


Prisoners and their families who have lingered under a decaying system that goes back to the 1970s, when Brown was first elected Governor, want and deserve sincere changes.


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