For years liberals have advocated reducing prison sentences, abolishing capital punishment, and for the furthest left, actually abolishing prisons.
Conservatives have replied that the judicious use of prisons to remove criminals from the society they threaten for as long as the law allows, including lengthening prison time with three strikes sentencing, is a better criminal justice policy strategy.
Statistical results have proven the conservatives are right. Crime is down across the board over the past several decades conservative policies have been in place.
Lately, as the public forgets, liberals are again advocating for their usual remedies, and in some cases winning, as with the implementation of California’s Realignment law, which is becoming another test case of why conservatives are right on crime, as reported by the Criminal Justice legal Foundation.
In early April 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB109, a 423-page measure called “Public Safety Realignment” into law, purportedly to help comply with a federal court order which required the largest reduction of state prison inmates in the nation’s history. The law accomplished this by increasing the “good time” credits for inmates participating in programs in prison, which reduced their required sentences in some cases by 60% and by making virtually all property and drug felonies ineligible for state prison. The law also transferred most criminals coming out of prison from more restrictive three-year statewide supervision on parole to less restrictive county supervision called Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS), a fancy name for probation. Few in law enforcement were involved in the drafting of the Realignment law, which passed through the Legislature with only Democrat votes. Many in law enforcement and groups which represent the interests of crime victims, warned that Realignment was guaranteed to increase crime.
At the time of Realignment’s passage, crime rates were hovering at 30-year lows and most of the public was ambivalent to a change. The press coverage focused largely on the predictions of criminologists, sociologists, and sentencing reform advocates who promised that under Realignment thousands of criminals would be rehabilitated by local programs and the state’s prison population would drop dramatically saving millions in tax dollars.
After the law took effect on October 1, 2011, the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and a number of police chiefs and sheriffs, whose major concern is the safety of the people they serve, began to regularly report on new felonies committed by criminals left free and unsupervised by Realignment.
In January 2013, the FBI preliminary report for 2012 showed across-the-board increases in crime in California after six straight years of decreases. Realignment supporters argued that the report was not conclusive because some California cities did not experience crime increases and that more time was needed for the new policies to work. By the time the final FBI report came out in July of this year, still showing significant increases, some news reporters began asking tougher questions about Realignment.
Retrieved January 14, 2014 from http://www.cjlf.org/releases/13-25.htm