- Showing 4 posts filed under: Politics [–] published between Oct 01, 2009 and Oct 31, 2009 [Show all]
Gubernatorial candidates in California talk prisons & prison reform
by Lisa Rea
Some weeks ago the Sacramento Bee did a story on the five candidates running for governor of California, thus far, and their views on prisons and criminal justice policies. It is hard to say that any of the responses are encouraging or enlightened. In fact, it left me wondering where's the vision? Where's the bold leadership?
Many of the responses showed a lack of understanding of the prison crisis the state faces and some of the responses showed a surprising amount of ignorance. The declared or soon to be declared candidates include Republicans: businesswoman Meg Whitman, state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, and former congressman and state legislator Tom Campbell. The Democrats include state attorney general and former governor Jerry Brown and mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom. Many of the candidate's comments reflected some of the same rhetoric heard this year in the California Legislature. The state is faced with severe prison overcrowding with increasing threats by federal courts to reduce its prison population. This has made prison reform more than a hot topic; some might call it “toxic”.
Restorative justice is a chance to heal, listen
Several days ago, I wrote about the demographic crisis in many city neighborhoods that is a breeding ground for violent crime. Despite a two-year drop in homicides and violent crime, there is trouble ahead if those neighborhoods are not restored.
That's where the idea of restorative justice comes in.
With the advent of harsher sentencing laws in the 1970s, coupled with increased poverty, huge numbers of young men were swept off city streets and into prison. Incarceration rates put stable marriages and families further out of reach, and led to even more poverty — with all that implies. Young men are still being incarcerated, and large numbers of parolees are being released back to the neighborhoods, but they are unprepared either for jobs or family life.Partners in Restorative Initiatives, a 9-year-old local agency, could be part of the solution.
Crime victims may get a say on punishments
The Isle of Man's criminal justice system is facing changes this year.
The Department of Home Affairs is considering introducing a Restorative Justice pilot scheme, which would give victims a say in how offenders are dealt with, to the Island.
Federal prison-overhaul plan dismissed as amateur, alarming
Canada's blueprint for overhauling federal prisons is an amateur and "alarming" document that ignores human rights, gives the false impression that crime is rising, and provides no costs for flawed policies that would flood penitentiaries with more inmates, says a new report.
The study attacks the Harper government for its speedy, wholesale adoption of the 2007 Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety that made more than 100 recommendations, based largely on the premise that prisoners don't have automatic rights; they earn them.