Monday, July 28, 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

Rodriguez student collects, stuffs backpacks for others

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
30 years ago, Art Koch died keeping the city safe

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Weather for Monday, July 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Artistic ingenuity unhinged at Contraptor’s Road Rally

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Rockville Trail hike offered

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
National Alliance on Mental Illness meeting Monday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Summertime Fill the Barrel Food Drive ends Thursday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Live music at Solano Town Center mall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

County fair opens Wednesday in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Food preservation class at library

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Canines graduate from CHP training academy

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

 
GV Cellars to host Food Bank fundraiser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Suisun police log: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Business workshop addresses marketing

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10

Fairfield gets new pizza shop

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Renowned cardiovascular surgeon comes to NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Bills aim to bring family law into 21st century

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
UConn makes 3-D copies of antique instrument parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Family law bills proposed in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Man dies after lightning strikes 14 in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

California governor to meet with Mexican president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Study: Blue whales at risk of hitting ships

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fighting intensifies near MH17 disaster site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

 
Arrogance of power evident

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: July 28, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
District needs peanut-free schools

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

.

Living

Today in History for July 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Randall: Why a ‘liar’ loves to hear from readers

By Sharon Randall | From Page: B5

 
My 33-year-old daughter blames me for all her problems

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Horoscopes for July 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

Comic-Con: Kingsley voices animated villain in ‘Boxtrolls’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Lucy’ tops ‘Hercules’ with $44M at box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con’s dark side: Harassment amid the fantasy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: ‘Hobbit’ cast tease trailer, bloopers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: 4 DC Comics brought to TV get event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Radcliffe goes undercover as Spidey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Ant-Man’ cast revealed: Lilly, Douglas, Rudd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Blacklist’ fans get black fedoras

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘The Vampire Diaries’ takes bite out of Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Batman v Superman’ stare-down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Godzilla sequel announced

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Avengers’ unleash ‘Ultron’ footage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TV team: Actor, detective role paired for 25 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

.

Sports

McGloin buried on Raiders depth chart again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants lose in Peavy’s debut, swept by Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Lawrence Okoye preparing for the NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
It’s ‘Jeff Gordon Day’ at Indy for record 5th time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Jaso has 3 RBIs as A’s beat Rangers 9-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Horsey wins Russian Open in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tim Clark rallies to win Canadian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spain sweeps to victory in International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Langer wins Senior British Open by record 13 shots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mudcats take pair from Pro Player Baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline HOF class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali wins Tour de France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

LeBron deep-sixes number; will be No. 23 with Cavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Byron Scott says he will be LA Lakers’ new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, July 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Terry

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7