The new California budget deal has been struck yesterday, and among other policies, it includes $1.2 billion in unallocated cuts to CDCR. While the San Jose Mercury reports that inmate release is not explicitly mentioned as one of the cuts, the broad issue is still on the table. As expected, some are not thrilled with this humonetarian move. The Sac Bee reports:
The campaign, expected to consist of thousands of phone calls, targets Democrats who plan to run for higher office next year, represent hotly contested districts, or who have been sympathetic or outspoken about law enforcement issues in years past.
"Frankly, it will not be possible for anyone who votes for the early release of felons to ever be taken seriously on public safety issues again," the campaign said in a memo to participants.
As part of a much larger plan to bridge the budget gap, the prison agreement would cut $1.2 billion from the prison system, which Melekian and other opponents fear could release more than 19,000 prisoners before their sentences expire.
"The concern is that the only way that you get to that amount of money is to release people from prison," Melekian said.
He said police chiefs are also concerned that there is no money available to help with prisoners' return to society.
"There's no money for job training – there's no money to do anything to transition these folks from institutional life to life back in the community," he said. "It's more than just releasing them. It's releasing them with no real plan for dealing with them."
Also see the report from UPI.
While releases of non-violent offenders would do good to a system that had no business locking up so many people in the first place, the concerns regarding reentry are certainly warranted. The time to think about reentry options for these released inmates is now.