Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jackson's plan to keep dangerous felons in prison gains support

On the same day that Gov. Jerry Brown tried to run from the fact that he had released far more murderers on parole in his first year in office than either Govs. Davis or Schwarzenegger did during their first years in office, District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson's plan to keep felons off the streets and behind bars received wide coverage through the Daily News media network.

In 2011 Gov. Brown released a record 331 murderers into the community on parole. Although that itself is a record number, and shockingly disproportionate to the very low numbers of murderers released by his predecessors,  it is overshadowed by the number of so-called non-serious felons that are being allowed to serve prison sentences in the community with little or no supervison.

Brown claims the State cannot afford to accommodate convicted felons in California's expensive prisons. His solution, AB 109 is misleadingly named 'realignment,' and it took lawmakers by surprise. They saw it as a budget saving measure, not a public safety disaster.

Instead of costing the state $50,000 a year to house a convict, Brown kicked the sum of $95M to LA County Sheriff Baca to administer 'programs' for these convicts. Programs that allow these convicts to be out on the street after a few days in jail. One such convict killed Desiree Grajeda, Miguel Herrera, and their unborn child hours after being given one of Brown's get out of prison cards, and the horror of that unspeakable injustice was the impetus for Jackson's plan.

District Attorney Alan Jackson's plan proposes to avoid the ludicrously high cost of incarceration in California prisons by using money, like the $95M given to Baca, to pay other states to accommodate our convicts. Arizona and Texas somehow manage to keep their prison costs down to reasonable levels, around a third of California's cost. Jackson's plan was embraced by Sen. Tony Strickland who has proposed Senate Bill 893, drafted by Jackson, to allow counties to outsource the costs of incarcerating convicts. 

Although Jackson's plan makes sense from both a fiscal and public safety perspectives, it is likely to be strongly opposed by Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who is counting on Sheriff Baca to support his bid to become District Attorney. Baca is not going to want to kiss goodbye to $95M a year from Sacramento, and would likely withdraw his support of Trutanich should the former ambulance chaser slip and fall lawyer turned career politician support a plan that preserves public safety by outsourcing convicts.

Jackson's plan is likely to feature prominently in his campaign to take over from District Attorney Steve Cooley. It will pit a veteran prosecutor against a career politician more interested in backroom budget deals than public safety.



Anonymous said...

What a great op-ed piece by Alan Jackson. He has shown yet again that he is the kind of leader the DA's Office needs - someone that will protect public safety and do what's right for this county.

Anonymous said...

Trutanich had his big roll-out this morning. Went to lunch with some old DCA buddies. They were poppin the champagne corks at the thought of unloading Nuch on us.

Nuch has almost a million dollars in the kitty and all this endorsement stuff hasn't cost him anything, it didn't even rule out him getting the whole AFSCME brass ring.

This guy will be the worst thing us. How did we get here?