Here in California, the federal courts have ruled that California’s overcrowded prisons amount to violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment,” and rather than build more prisons, California is releasing a large number of inmates. This coincides with the national move to “de-incarcerate.”
Who are we letting out? The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has a website where you can scroll through the names of inmates proposed for release, and the “opposition letters” the DA has filed opposing release, as well as a list of a few dozen inmates released over the DA’s opposition. Doesn’t look like the releases are limited to “non-violent” offenders or just the poor kids who got caught with a joint. A few samples:
Victor “Chunky” Montez – A known gang member with a violent criminal history including voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest as well as drug transportation/possession and ammunition possession convictions. He was also found to be in possession of a large cache of firearms. Montez has been in and out prison since the 1980s, violating parole seven times. Opposition Letter.
James Allen West – Committing offense is assault with a deadly weapon by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury. West beat the victim unconscious, punching and kicking him in the head wearing steel toed boots. Past convictions include violent assaults and battery with serious bodily injury. One victim was a 75-year-old woman. West beat the other victims until they were unconscious. Opposition Letter.
Deshawn Fisher – Prior convictions include voluntary manslaughter. In the prior offense, Fisher and his co-defendant tried to rob a group of men at gunpoint as they played cards in front of a house. Two men were shot, one died. In prison, Fisher committed battery on inmates, participated in riots, engaged in mutual combat, and threatened an officer’s life among other violent behavior. He violated parole twice by being in possession of firearms, ammunition and drugs. Opposition Letter.
What could go wrong?