Strange to hear from a criminal defense lawyer. But how do you defend what little constitutional rights an offender has? Especially when the State decides who should be entitled to early release to alleviate over crowed jails because the Correctional Officers Union negotiated a deal that private prisons may not house those sentenced to State prison as they do in other states!
I often wonder if those union bosses ever think outside of greed and profit. The negotiated deal, I believe to be true, benefits the California Correctional Officers and their jobs and overtime etc.
Great, but nobody wants new prisons built, hence the federal judge rules that there is over-crowding. Then some unknown "correction specialist" decides who to release in the community early. Is it the marijuana dealer or the non-violent offender with serious mental issues that cannot get help when released?
So far, the numbers do not look good. Check out San Diego Union's story in July 23, 2014 paper. 6,200 men and women have been released on the streets since 2011 and about 2,290 now active as "supervised". How is that going?
40 of those non-violent former prison inmates previously classified as non-violent have been charge with murder or attempted murder since 2011. What's that? Three years or so?
Maybe that is not a bad number. But consider this. According to a San Diego County Senior Probation Officer, there is only one office that is processing the early release SB-109 offenders. It is on Chula Vista's main street - Third Avenue and conveniently located next to a Bar and down the street from the newly remodeled Veteran's Memorial Park. Genius. Why not next to a grade school.
How is a defense lawyer, and primarily a public defender who will get the majority of the cases, going to explain that his or her client was set up for failure.
Doesn't it make sense to locate such an office in an industrial area, like the location of the half-way house on Boston Ave. close to NAASCO where they can get work when released? How about locating some professionals close by to get them the treatment they need?
Mack Jenkins, the County's chief probation officer noted in his December 2013 report to County Supervisor's that the re-alignment and mandatory supervised former inmates "are at a significantly higher risk to re-offend than the traditional probationer at 28%". That annual report is now hard to locate on San Diego Probation's website now. Well it don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
And for now, Chula Vista and its City Council is ignoring the problem and no mention has been made of the probation office and its precarious location. Was rent cheaper on Chula Vista's "Main Street"? No one is commenting. Maybe it will just go away and Third Ave. will be a wonderful place to bring your family and grandkids. Just dodge the homeless and disenfranchised early parolees. They are the non-violent felons, but where is the plan to get them back into becoming productive members of society.
You see, most defense attorneys prefer referrals rather than repeat customers. I think most defense lawyers represent the constitutional rights that all citizens of this great country should have. That is what makes our country so different. However, I also submit to you that defense attorneys want to make a difference in their client's life. We want a fair outcome and for our clients to become productive members of society. Regardless of how we are treated for what we represent. The State of California has good intentions, but you have to set yourself up to succeed is what my father, a brilliant jurist and lawyer always said. It is hard to sugar coat this mess.
Common sense just ain't that common, is it?