California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is currently facing an upcoming recall election, issued an “emergency declaration” this week that will have a big impact on the state’s prison population. The impact in question will be a lot more prisoners – including repeat offenders and those convicted of violent crimes – getting out of prison long before they would previously have been eligible. And when I say “a lot,” I mean numbers in the tens of thousands. The state had already released huge numbers of inmates convicted of non-violent crimes in the name of combatting the pandemic. But this order takes things to the next level and Newsom isn’t even working with the legislature to make it happen. The entire process unfolded in just three weeks with almost no public notice being given. (Fox News)
With little notice, California on Saturday is increasing early release credits for 76,000 inmates, including violent and repeat felons, as it further trims the population of what once was the nation’s largest state correctional system.
More than 63,000 inmates convicted of violent crimes will be eligible for good behavior credits that shorten their sentences by one-third instead of the one-fifth that had been in place since 2017.
That includes nearly 20,000 inmates who are serving life sentences with the possibility of parole.
In addition to putting a lot more felons back out on the streets, Newsom is ordering the closure of another prison. The California Correctional Center in Susanville will be shuttered by next July. I suppose you don’t need as many prisons when you’re just going to let everyone go.
So 63,000 inmates will soon be back out from behind bars and mingling with the public, including 20,000 who were serving life sentences. And for those who don’t qualify for a get out of jail free card, there is more “help” on the way. Prisoners currently serving in California’s work camps will immediately qualify for one month off of their sentences for every month they have served with “good behavior.” But as one law enforcement official pointed out, even the ones who fail to qualify due to “bad behavior” in any given month don’t really stay any longer. The month they lose can be restored in as little as 12 weeks and it usually is. So basically, everyone is getting “good behavior” credit every month now.
This is simply a case of the liberal push to “empty the jails” being put on steroids. And, as I mentioned above, the Governor is doing it single-handedly through executive order without even offering a period for public comment. In the past, when prison regulations were loosened, the matter was either handled legislatively or via a referendum.
All of this is being done at a time when Los Angeles just released its statistics showing a 38% increase in homicides over the previous twelve months and a similar surge in other violent crimes. San Francisco is experiencing a “dramatic spike” in murders, along with surges in other crimes, including burglary. Simultaneously, the streets are still regularly crowded with people calling for the defunding of police departments. What sort of suicidal culture has taken hold of California to produce these effects? Are these the conditions where you would really like to see tens of thousands of repeat offenders dumped back into your community far earlier than was anticipated?