Saturday, July 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Early prison releases a political hazard, too

elias column sig

By
July 15, 2014 |

From early in his career, Gov. Jerry Brown has had a proclivity for dismissing problems with wisecracks or aphorisms. As early as 1975, in the first term of his first go-‘round as California’s top official, he mocked university professors’ pleas for pay raises by saying they didn’t need more money, but could make do with “psychic rewards.”

He’s done the same thing lately as companies such as Toyota and Occidental Petroleum announced they were moving headquarters and thousands of jobs out of state, noting that those firms and their jobs are just a tiny fraction of the California economy. True, but the moves are very consequential for the employees involved and everyone they do business with.

Now, with the state beginning to release some nonviolent prisoners to comply with a federal court order demanding that prison crowding be reduced, Brown told a reporter that “The U.S. Supreme Court ordered us to release thousands of prisoners.” The releases, he said, “are a creative solution.”

But as soon as Brown’s Republican re-election opponent Neel Kashkari finishes hammering him for allowing Toyota and Occidental to leave (the companies say no official persuasion or tax concession could have prevented their shifts), the GOP will start in on prison releases.

Again, Brown will plead that he did all he could to resist the releases and the accompanying realignment program that sees many felons who would previously have done time in state prisons serving shorter terms in county jails. And he did, coming close to a historic confrontation with the judges involved.

But it’s also true that legislative Democrats, with no resistance from Brown, killed a Republican proposal to put all prisoners sentenced to more than 10 years in state prisons and not county jails.

The GOP cited the case of Randall Murray Allison, arrested on Interstate 5 with more than 200 pounds of cocaine worth about $2.3 million in the largest drug bust in Kings County history. Because of realignment and the nonviolent nature of Allison’s crime, he was sentenced to 28 years in county jail, but space issues there mean he will probably serve only about 30 months in jail, less than 10 percent of his sentence.

Allison is not alone. State corrections officials say hundreds of prisoners will be paroled “slightly earlier” than normal before the end of this year. Plus, some second-time offenders who have done half their enhanced time under the “three-strikes” law may become eligible for parole.

If Brown’s job approval rating (now well above 50 percent) were not so high, this could pose a serious political problem for him. And it still might if Kashkari begins to catch fire.

For the reality of realignment so far is that while violent crime is down in most areas since the program began, property crime is up. This means car burglaries, thefts from garages where doors are inadvertently left open and the like, with stolen goods frequently fenced to pay for drugs.

Even though no one has yet been able to show a direct link between those new crimes and realignment, many victims would likely blame Brown if his opponent could make any connection.

And yet, with the prod from the court order, California is now doing exactly what a new report from the National Academy of Sciences says all states should: cutting the rate of incarceration.

“The United States is past the point where the number of people in prison can be justified by social benefits,” said Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The problem, says the study he headed, is that few criminals reform while in prison, so “When ex-inmates return to their communities, their lives often continue to be characterized by violence, joblessness . . . ” and other problems.

It’s true that fear of long prison terms has never been proven to reduce overall crime. But when someone like Randall Murray Allison balances the potential gain from trying to sell more than $2 million worth of cocaine against little more than two years in county jail, there will surely be more crime.

Which means that if he doesn’t want political trouble either this fall or in a future term as governor, Brown needs to come up with a more creative solution to the overcrowding issue. Or else he will get at least some of the blame for any new crime increase that might come.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • boomJuly 15, 2014 - 10:17 am

    The GOP can tag Brown for releasing prisoners, too bad their tough on crime agenda in the 90's is what forced the state prison system into mass overcrowding. I've been there, I've done time with a guy who was doing 12 years for .02 gram of meth. That just doesn't make any sense. As for the man who got busted with 200 pounds of coke, I don't think you should blame California law for him being released so soon, I think you should blame the Feds for not picking up that case, 2.3 million sure sounds like money laundering to me.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Large party to honor entry into Army

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
 
County releases Solano whistleblower investigations

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

Crashes snarl Friday traffic on Interstate 80

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Abrams to speak at Democratic Club meet

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Physical activity may diminish fatigue

By Scott Anderson | From Page: B10

Share nature’s bounty with others

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
Weather for Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B11

 
.

US / World

US: Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Police still investigating after burglar killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

What happened? The day Flight 17 was downed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Large Sandy-struck family splits $20M lottery win

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

BART station reopens after reported bomb threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California county sues over subdivision slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Wildfire forces evacuation of rural NorCal homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-Bell councilwoman gets 2 years for corruption

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Database details California school employee pay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California state senator facing additional charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Designer: Bay Bridge bolts don’t need replacing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pelvis pix victims must feel trauma to share $190M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Sheriff: 300 homes burned in Washington wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Taiwan plane survivor crawls out, phones dad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Teams converge on remote site to probe plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Former CIA officials can’t see ‘torture’ report

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Same-sex marriage ban struck down for Miami area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Migrants: Obama urges Latin leaders, GOP to help

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Ebola outbreak spreads to 4th West African country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Opinion

Top 3 ways to impress an employer

By Deon Price | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons: July 26, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Ranchers coming around on global warming

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A8

 
Immersion kindergarten class in jeopardy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Cheers, jeers for the week of July 20-26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
I’m not attracted to my husband since he’s gained weight

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

.

Entertainment

Sam Raimi announces planned ‘The Last of Us’ film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Nolan, McConaughey surprise with ‘Interstellar’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Comic-Con gets first look at ‘Mockingjay’ trailer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Bazinga! ‘Big Bang Theory’ writers hit Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Scientists make love, war weapons in ‘Manhattan’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Puig, Dodgers go triple-crazy, beat Giants 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Forces strong during NHRA qualifying at Sonoma Raceway

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Fairfield Expos bats come alive in 13-2 win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

 
Raiders brimming with optimism at start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers ready to fill big void for injured Bowman

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Dallas Cowboys LB McClain convicted in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Horsey in halfway lead at Russian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
7-shot lead for Langer at Senior British Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Furyk, Petrovic, share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
US rebounds to win twice in International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hammel 0-3 for A’s after 4-1 loss to Rangers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
With Nibali in command, Tour is about 2nd place

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Marshawn Lynch missing as Seahawks camp begins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, July 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

NASCAR drivers want changes on the schedule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Business

Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Orders for US durable goods up 0.7 percent in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Russian execs fear lasting damage from plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Global tensions don’t dent enthusiasm for stocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Feds probe Dodge Charger alternator complaints

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Towering worry: Small holes cause big jitters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

McNuggets pulled from sale in HK after meat scare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US to evaluate Impala air bag performance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Family feud sparks revolt at grocery store chain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Pamela Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Mary Spingola Stagnaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 07/26/14

Real estate transactions for July 26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Citation Northern offers new Madison Lane homes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: HSR2

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.13 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2