BARSTOW — The City Council has joined the California police chiefs, law enforcement organizations and the League of California Cities to officially oppose the Public Safety Rehabilitation Act of 2016.
The Council on Monday unanimously voted to approve a resolution to oppose Proposition 57, which is on the Nov. 8 ballot. If passed, it would change the parole rules for offenders defined as "non-violent" under current law, according to the staff report. Many criminals would be eligible to seek parole after serving the full term of of their primary offense without factoring in any sentencing enhancements they received in addition to the base term.
Mayor Julie Hackbarth McIntyre and City Councilman Richard Harpole both expressed frustration over the state pushing criminal costs onto communities.
"Proposition 109 was passed several years ago. The Prison Realignment Act. And it moved offenders from prison to county jails. County jails were overcrowded too. So it moved more people to what is called community correction, which is probation and parole. Basically, putting these criminals back into our communities," Harpole said.
"They touted this as a way to cut the state's costs for prisons, but what they have done, they saddled local jurisdictions with the cost in addition to the individuals who now find themselves victimized over and over and over again."
The mayor said she agreed with Harpole, saying local jurisdictions don't have any control but deal with the extra costs.
"You can see everybody is having the same problems," she said. "The state is saving money, but the cities' costs are tripling, quadrupling and falling on our law enforcement who are doing a good damn job of getting them (criminals). Then it's cite and release and it's a ongoing episode our police offers and our Police Department having to (deal with it). They are always back on the streets."
Harpole said Proposition 47 passed a year ago had the same affect on local jurisdictions. It reduced the penalties for some crimes.
"The language was real misleading and people thought they were doing good things. Going to make their communities safer and it's just the opposite. All across the state you can read newspapers about the increase in crime in every community," he said.
"Just today I looked up a report from the Department of Corrections and rehabilitation. In their own report they say more than 60 percent of parolees are returned to prison within three years. This is about getting people out of prison and putting them back into our communities. Ends up making us all less safe and I believe everybody should oppose it."
Mike Lamb can be reached at 760-957-0613 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @mlambdispatch.