Proposition 57, the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016,” would be bad law if passed. Its proponents claim that it would focus resources on keeping dangerous criminals behind bars, when in fact it would let them out of prison early.
If Proposition 57 passes, it would allow the immediate release of 16,000 dangerous criminals. These criminals will be rapists, human traffickers, hostage takers, sex offenders and arsonists, all who have caused great injury to citizens in California.
The list of inmates who would be let out of prison early under Proposition 57 include violent persons who have committed crimes against all types of victims in California. The victims of the soon-to-be-freed inmates include children, homeowners, business people and senior citizens.
The proposition does not limit the release of murderers, drive-by shooters, or individuals causing injury through hate crimes (if you really think about it, crime, all crime, is really hate crime). It appears from this proposition that the governor does not believe that serious crime exists in California.
The people who support Proposition 57 point out that these inmates would be let out for good behavior and rehabilitation. However, I say that if they first displayed good behavior and attempted to educate themselves by taking advantage of our public school system, they never would have been put in state prison in the first place.
Since January 2014, I have found that my going to parole hearings and sending seasoned prosecutors to the hearings that I cannot attend, has resulted in denial for almost every Madera County inmate that has come up for a parole release. I believe inmates should serve their original sentence as punishment. That would act as a deterrent for the good of society.
The second practice Proposition 57 changes, is direct filing of complaints against juvenile defendants. It would require a court hearing to determine if the youth may be transferred to adult court, no matter what his or her age. This concept would not provide any additional justice for the juvenile and would further clog our overburdened criminal courts. Direct filing in appropriate juvenile cases should be determined by the elected county district attorney.
It is ridiculous to file against an individual who is 18 years and 1 day old in Superior Court when his or her friend, who is 3 days younger, gets a full hearing in Juvenile Court, before the case ever goes to trial.
Bad laws, such as Proposition 57 would be, will only hurt victims and put innocent individuals in jail, while at the same time letting the truly violent criminals out of jail.
Please join me in protecting my family and yours by voting NO on Proposition 57.
— David A. Linn,
Madera County District Attorney