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Ray Haynes

Democrats Prison Policy Will Kill Californians

We are at a crossroads on the prison question in California. For years, Democrats have refused to build prisons, have refused to take actions to protect Californians from bad people, and placed our prisons under the control of federal judges to indulge their perverse concept of justice. They have passed laws saying the purpose of prison is to rehabilitate people, they have pushed initiatives to rewrite three strikes so that the really bad felons can get out of prison after they have been sentenced to life, they have realigned the prison system so as to put the responsibility for letting bad prisoners go on the backs of counties, and now they fought the federal judges to the end of the line in the federal courts in the hopes of avoiding responsibility for their failed policies on crime. Everything they have done with respect to crime and punishment has been to look for scapegoats for what is now the inevitable rise in crime rates that will result in substantial harm, and in some cases, death to many Californians.

They now have only two choices: (1) The first and best choice is to build more prisons, find more prison space however they can, and keep these bad guys off our streets without a direct fight with the federal judges; or (2) challenge the federal courts jurisdiction over our prisons by refusing to release the prisoners the federal judges are now saying we must release. Either way will keep the worst of the worst of California’s criminals off our streets and protect people. If they don’t, it appears that Jerry Brown will once again preside over the fastest rise in crime in California history.

Students of California history will remember that Jerry Brown 1.0 (1975-1983) saw a huge growth in the tax rate and in the crime rate, and resulted in the Governorship of George Deukmejian. Deukmejian accomplished his main goal as Governor, that is, to build more prisons to keep bad guys off the street. It was an amazing accomplishment, given the Democrats near complete control of state government then, but after the removal of Rose Bird and the Supremes, the reinstatement of the death penalty, and the growth of the Republican Party in reaction to the failed Democrat policies on crime, Democrats knew that, if they wish to retain control of the levers of power in California, they had to at least acquiesce in the Republican policies of “getting tough on crime.” Those policies worked. They worked so well that the issue of crime disappeared as a means for Republicans to move into positions of power. Other Republicans, like Dan Lungren for instance, refused to recognize that crime as an issue had gone away due to the success of Republican policies, and continued to campaign as tough on crime. They lost because people in the 1990’s and the first decade of the 2000’s did not see crime as the problem it was in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.

But crime is on the rise again, because California is letting criminals out of prison, and those criminals are doing what they do best, hurting innocents all across the state. Children are being molested again in record numbers, murders are once again on the rise, property crimes are skyrocketing, and the Democrats are doing all they can to blame someone else for those horrific statistics.

Make no mistake, the rise in crime is the result of Democrat policies on crime, specifically, their failure to build prisons as the population of California rose. Crime rates fell, but the population of the state increased, and Democrats refused to build prisons to keep up with the increase in population (Can you imagine what the Democrats would say if the state had not built a single school since 1995?). The state, and more specifically its citizens, are now paying the price for this short sighted prison policy.

The simple truth is the best way to fight crime is to put those who commit the crimes behind bars, that keeps us safe, and keeps those with a propensity to commit crimes away from those who don’t. Democrats think that crime is a result of a person’s situation, not their character. That is simply false, bad people commit crimes because they are bad, not because they are poor. Bad people must be locked up, and be kept locked up. Detention is the best deterrent.

The only good news is this rise in crime may revive the Republican Party, if it is smart enough to recognize it as an issue. The bad news is too many Californians are going to be hurt before the crime issue can be fixed again. That is sad.