Watchdog Panel Calls For Commission To Reform Prisons

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, January 26, 2007

The Little Hoover Commission report says the correctional system is in a tailspin that threatens public safety.  It accuses lawmakers of inaction – saying they’re afraid to be seen as soft on crime.  Commissioner Daniel Hancock:

“I think there’s a sense of frustration and cynicism on the part of the commission that people just haven’t taken this issue seriously.”

A federal judge has threatened to take over the system, and could redirect state funds to corrections.  To avoid that, the commission suggests an independent panel could take over – and set up new sentencing guidelines.  Not a good idea, says Republican Assemblywoman and commission member Audra Strickland:

“Handing over my job of being a representative of the people of my district to an independent unaccountable, unelectable commission is an abdication of my responsibilities.”

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed an advisory sentencing commission – and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero wants to form a similar group…but with more power.