Commentary: Give Ex-Cons a Chance

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 4, 2006

California prisons release some 330 inmates every day. Those released include murderers, rapists, thieves, robbers, gang members, and child molesters like Timothy Lee Boggs.

Many of those new ex-cons have no place to stay and no job. Most, frankly, are more dangerous than Boggs. Still, child molesters belong in a special category. Their victims - small children, are uniquely vulnerable.

That said - we are still a nation of laws. Boggs has served his time and a judge has ordered his release. While incarcerated, he did more than most to heal himself. He deserves a chance to make it on the outside. By giving Boggs a place to stay that meets the requirements of his very stringent parole conditions, and possibly even a job, bail bondsman Leonard Padilla has done an important service - not just for Boggs, but for this community.

California cannot solve its prison crisis unless it does something to give the thousands of ex-inmates released every year a reasonable chance to survive on the outside. That starts with a place to live, and a job.

This is not about coddling criminals. It’s about public protection. It's also about basic decency, and the Christian values of forgiveness and redemption.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.