FROM Barry Krisberg
Lies, Damn Lies...and Police Statistics The LAPD admits that it misreported serious offenses for at least eight years -- which made it appear that the rate of crime was declining faster than it really was. And LA’s not the only place where misreporting goes on. It was good PR at the time, but what has the revelation done to public confidence now and for the future?
LA Is Learning Tough on Crime Is Tough to Undo Ever since election day, the phones have been busy at the LA County Public Defender’s Office. The calls are flooding in from convicts looking to have their sentences reduced and -- ultimately -- to get released from jail under Proposition 47 . The proposition reclassifies a number of non-violent and drug-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. The LA County District Attorney’s office says there are about 4,000 cases pending in Los Angeles courts alone that could be eligible for re-sentencing under the new law. But is LA’s criminal justice system prepared to carry out the will of California voters?
Should the State’s Youth Prisons Be Shut Down? After years of scandals over sexual violence and other forms of brutality and abuse, Governor Schwarzenegger settled a lawsuit against the California Youth Authority. Its name was changed to the Division of Juvenile Justice, and it now holds about 1000 inmates as opposed to 10,000. But the overall costs are the same as ever and the recidivism rate is 81%--one of the worst in the country. Governor Brown wants to shut it down and give the counties full responsibility for kids ranging in age from 12 to 25 who’ve been convicted of robbery, murder and other serious crimes. If the state closed the Division of Juvenile Justice, those very tough cases would be sent to the counties, including LA County’s Probation Department. Civil rights attorney Connie Rice wrote an op-ed piece about the Department in the LA Times last October. It began by describing a sign on a classroom wall in one Juvenile Hall reading, “No Reading Newspapers, No Cell Phone Use and No Alcohol Consumption During Class.” The message was not for the inmates, it was for the staff…
The Race for State Attorney General Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley and San Francisco DA Kamala Harris faced off yesterday in a debate in their race for Attorney General. Republican Cooley and Democrat Harris disagreed over Proposition 23 , which would suspend Governor Schwarzenegger’s new law against global warming; Prop 19 , which would legalize marijuana; California’s unhealthy and overcrowded prison service, which is under the receivership of a panel of three federal judges; and Prop 8 , the ban on same-sex marriage passed two years ago and declared unconstitutional by a federal court.
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