We have all heard about the balance of power, and of course, the Chinese philosophical balance of Yin (negative force) and Yang (positive force), but how does this apply to Jerry Brown’s latest imitative– Prop. 57? Here goes. When Jerry Brown originally took office, according to a published article in the timesunion.com by Don Thompson who writes, “Gov. Brown dramatically altered California’s criminal sentencing system when he was first governor a generation ago.” In that time period, Gov. Brown passed laws termed “determinate sentencing” giving out “mandatory minimum sentences, and enhanced sentences for certain crimes” including the three-strikes law. This put California far to one side of the criminal system with more sentencing, more prisoners, and more incarcerations. Out of balance.
In addition, there was a strong focus on trying juveniles (under 18) in adult courts whereby swelling the prison population, which is a major factor influencing the passage of Prop. 57 for Gov. Brown! So, going back to the year 2000, voters voted in Prop.21 that “upset the essential balance of the justice system by allowing prosecutors, rather than judges, to choose between juveniles, and adult court.” Juveniles were viewed as “uncontrollable predators” according to writer for the The Times Editorial Board.
Fortunately, Gov. Brown states, “One of the beauties of being in government over a 42-year period: You get to make mistakes that you then get to correct.” Really. Isn’t this statement typical of a politician? How far are you removed from the people? Just think of all those inmates who got longer sentences. I guess Gov. Brown now wants to right (balance) his wrongs?
So be it Gov. Brown. A quick overview of the positive factors if Prop. 57 passes, which is endorsed by the LA Times. Juvenile court: prosecutors will not have control. Now, the second part of Prop.57 deals with the prison population that has to be kept within certain federal guidelines. Hmmmm, we know what that means – empty the prisons. According to Don Thompson, Associated Press, “nearly 130,000 inmates could seek parole if it passes.” Well folks, there may be some saving grace for Gov. Brown in his final 2 years as governor, with the passing of Prop. 57. Here’s why.
Potential parolees will be given rehabilitation credits to those “who complete classes or treatment” states Mr. Thompson, and according to The Times Editorial Board staff writers, “Inmates will have new incentives to change their behavior, both in prison and after release. For many inmates, prisons will cease to be merely warehouses and may at last become instruments of rehabilitation.”
Thank you Governor Moonbeam… just had to get that one in. Prop 57: it’s a good thing?
By Sharla Esparza