Ana Martinez |Staff Writer|
Discord continues between federal judges and Governor Jerry Brown as both parties disagree on the issue of whether to reduce the states over population in California prisons.
Earlier last week, a group of three federal judges, Thelton Henderson, Lawrence Karlton and Stephen Reinhardt, rejected Gov. Brown’s debate; he argued that the state prisons are no longer overcrowded.
The judges ordered that the state continue to reduce its prison population by releasing inmates held on minor charges.
Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, criticizes the amount of money that has been spent in relation to prison issues.
“Since 2006, the inmate population in the state’s 33 prisons has been reduced by more than 43,000,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman added, “Any further reduction of the prison population is unnecessary and unsafe.”
Hoffman also notes that over $1 billion has been spent on trying to reduce overcrowding and improving medical care for inmates. Students at CSUSB have mixed opinions on the issue.
“It’s a good idea. We need to reduce our jail sizes, because they are already overpopulated and need to let out people with petty crimes; but not the ones with hardcore crimes,” said student Aunjolay Lambert.
“It can give inmates a second chance to regain confidence in life and make better choices,” said Janika Kelly.
Other students share differing opinions. “Releasing felons with minor charges would only give the wrong message; it would give people the impression that you can do minor crimes and will not get the punishment you deserve,” said a student who asked not to be identified.
An article published in the Los Angeles Times last week shared the story of David Mulder, an ex-felon who has been in and out of jail, was found next to his dead victim Elisa VanCleve near the San Bernardino freeway.
California Highway Patrol officers responded to a call of a woman being attacked and reported VanCleve dead due to stab wounds. Mulder was also killed after being shot at the scene by CHP officers. San Bernardino community members are speaking out and blaming the governor’s realignment program, which was the program that released Mulder. The Los Angeles Times interviewed Fontana Police Chief Rod Jones and got his stance on the issue.
“Dangerous prisoners that belong in state prisons continue to be released early, time and time again, to return to our communities and endanger our families and friends,” said Jones.
Brown has said that he will not comply with the orders given by the court, until the Supreme Court says otherwise.
“When the Supreme Court gives these three judges the green light, then we have to do what they tell us, and we’ll have a list of 9,000 or 10,000 of our finest inmates that will be ready for neighborhood visitations throughout California,” said Brown.
Brown considers that identifying the prospective inmates for release, would be challenging.
“We’re going to try to find the nicest of the nice, but I have to tell you, it’s hard to get into prisons now,” said Brown in an article in the Sacramento Bee.
Though there continues to be further debacle, the issue has yet to be decided.