LA Times — Abel Maldonado, in his first public move since announcing that he was considering a run for governor, on Wednesday attacked Gov. Jerry Brown’s prison policy, arguing that Brown has made Californians unsafe by allowing certain criminals serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prison.
Maldonado, the state’s former lieutenant governor, will announce Wednesday morning that he is spearheading an effort to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would roll back a 2011 bill – AB 109, known as “public-safety realignment” -- which was designed to reduce overcrowding in state prisons. He said Brown should have known that many county jails are also overcrowded and that this move would result in criminals being released early.
“This is the biggest issue – it threatens the lives of Californians,” Maldonado said in an interview with The Times. “This notion of families being afraid to go out on the street, being afraid of parking garages, families who are just afraid. A lot of people really don’t know what AB 109 is because the governor uses a fancy word called realignment. At the end of the day, it’s early release. It’s a shell game is what it is.”
While the law only applies to criminals sentenced for nonviolent and non-sex-related crimes, Maldonado argues that some of the criminals being sent to county jails have lengthy rap sheets and are dangers to their communities. He plans to hold an event Thursday in Fontana, where a woman was stabbed to death by a convict. Local officials blamed the murder on realignment. State officials have countered that the suspect, who was killed by police, had finished his prison sentence, violated parole and then was released early by county officials.
Many local officials have complained that their jails were already overcrowded when realignment forced them to house more offenders rather than send them to state prisons. continue reading...