Letter To The Editor: Proposed Prison Reform
Posted by Patricia St. Peter on Mar 27, 2005 - 7:34:00 PM
I recently read
an article that states that after reviewing the Governor's plan to reorganize
the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, The Little Hoover Commission has concluded
that the plan would enable significant improvements regarding the performance of
correctional programs and enhance public safety.
I personally read
this proposed plan myself and as a taxpayer, I completely disagree with them
and here is why:
There is to little consideration regarding the most
fundamental and necessary programs needed to reform and rehabilitate prisoners,
male and female alike.
There is little or
no focus on lowering recidivism rates and it is amazing to me that the Little
Hoover Commission would even consider implementing this band-aid style attempt
of reform that would not even consider adopting or creating a plan similar to
that of the State of
that has proven an extremely low recidivism rate of only 10%.
Mental health and
rehabilitation are two main ingredients and necessary components in reforming
inmates yet, in the new reform plan, they are departments that are separate and
Mental and medical
health issues are geared more towards lowering overall costs than to heal the
sick.Mental and medical health care
costs are high. There are other states using programs that are more affordable.
We should be mimicking those states and not cutting back funding for the programs
we are already using that are lacking.
proven that the majority of the inmates in
California prisons suffer from mental
illness yet the amount of authority the medical care providers have within the
prison walls is almost nil.The mentally
ill inmates should be in hospitals and not kept in prison cages.
Rehabilitation is all about healing.
reform will be cutting necessary programs at the expense of the under educated,
drug addicted and mentally ill inmate and let's not forget about the general
public, their safety, and what will be the ultimate cost to the tax payer that
is funding this proposal to begin with?
At the same time
much attention is going towards creating a Risk Management Program designed to
protect the state from lawsuits stemming from the inmate abuse that occurs
daily.I agree that there should be
cameras inside the prison walls that cannot be turned off and that the only way
to solve the abuse is to end it. Fire those correctional officers that are doing
the abuses and hold them legally accountable for their wrong doing.
Put them behind bars.
The refusal to
allow for a Civilian Corrections Commission has created a great distrust of
this proposed plan and the scrutiny will continue. There will still be no
measurable amount of accountability. The proposed program does not embrace the
idea that the Civilian taxpaying communities concerns and considerations are
credible when they should in fact invite such a proposed opportunity.
To much authority
and responsibility lies in the hands of the proposed Secretary position. The
proposed plan has it's positive points yet at the same time it lacks
in to many areas.
It is no doubt
that the prison system needs to be reformed but grabbing to quickly at a
program that is lacking such as this one will not guarantee the positive
changes that are needed.Allowing this
plan to be implemented in
without making further considerations and revisions will be a huge costly
mistake for the taxpayers.
This reorganization plan is no better
than if I had sent my three year old into clean up his own room. The mess is just
shuffled around. It sounded like a good idea in the beginning but upon full
inspection I am still looking at a gigantic mess!
If they are going
to observe and create a statistical outline then they should also be
functionally pro active in creating preventative programs designed to
positively aid the inmates in rehabilitation. It's all about the numbers though
isn't it? Especially when the numbers are on a dollar bill.
Read on, Taking funds away from prison inmate
programs that are designed to rehabilitate the offender just to eliminate the
"overall" prison costs are not going to help anyone but the
correctional department. As it is prisoners already live on a steady diet of
chicken thighs and wings. What are they going to feed them now? The
I am a taxpayer
and I demand that there be a Civilian Corrections Commission! Otherwise there
will STILL be NO measurable amount of accountability. The proposed reform will
still be an enclosed web of hush, hush and pats on the back and cutting of necessary
programs at the expense of the under educated, drug addicted and MENTALLY ILL
inmate and let's not forget about the general public, their safety, and at what
will be the ultimate cost to the unknowing and naive tax payer that is funding
this mess to begin with! The plan is almost cookie cutter
design. It's actually more the shape of a box or better yet a prison cell. It
still keeps everything inside and away from the public's eye. Of course they are
spending money to develop a risk management department for themselves. It gets
pretty darned expensive when they are injuring, maiming and killing the people they
are hired to watch over. The risk management program is yet another smoke
screen!The department of corrections is
probably going to cut out the sugar in that hot Kool-aid they have been giving
the inmates to drink to cover the cost
for this program!
I have a quick
Missouri has come up
with a program design that is working so well that their recidivism rate is
only 10% then why in the hell aren't we adopting that plan? Every tax paying
citizen needs to get a copy of this proposal and see where their money is being
spent! To top it all off, neither the current system nor the proposed reorganization
includes a chief financial officer so there will be no accountability for
Patricia St. Peter
Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.