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Assemblyman+Jim+Cooper+part+of+coalition+with+WEAVE.+Petition+drive+underway+to+stop+early+release+of+inmates+for+child+trafficking%2C+domestic+violence+and+rape+of+an+unconscious+person.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper part of coalition with WEAVE. Petition drive underway to stop early release of inmates for child trafficking, domestic violence and rape of an unconscious person.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper part of coalition with WEAVE. Petition drive underway to stop early release of inmates for child trafficking, domestic violence and rape of an unconscious person.

takebacksantacruz.org

takebacksantacruz.org

Assemblyman Jim Cooper part of coalition with WEAVE. Petition drive underway to stop early release of inmates for child trafficking, domestic violence and rape of an unconscious person.

Sabrina Torres, Reporter

On January 4, 2018 the initiative, Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act was proposed by the Secretary of State Alex Padilla. This measure will fix three related issues created by recent laws that have threatened the public safety of all Californians. The act aims to reform the parole system by preventing violent felons from being granted early release as well as strengthening the oversight of post-release community supervision.  

Tense penalties for failure  to abide by the post-release community supervision rules and regulations has also been incorporated. The Keeping California Safe Act will reform theft laws to restore accountability for serious criminals involved in theft rings and serial theft . There will be an expansion of DNA collections from those convicted of drug, theft and domestic violence related crimes to help solve and exonerate the innocent.

This act is meant to prevent murderers, rapists, child molesters and other violent criminals, “since 2014, California has had an increase in violent crime than the rest of the United States. Since 2013, violent crime in Los Angeles has increased 69.5%. Violent crime in Sacramento rose faster during the first six months of 2015 than in any of the 25 largest U.S. cities tracked by the FBI”.  

Recent changes to parole laws have permitted the early release of dangerous criminals due to the law’s failure to define certain crimes as violent. Individuals convicted of such things as the sex trafficking of children, rape of an unconscious person, felony assault with a deadly weapon, battery on a police officer or firefighter, and felony domestic violence are now considered non- violent offenders. This means that offenders may be released after serving only a fraction of their sentence.

The bill reads, “Violent offenders are also being allowed to remain free in our communities even when they commit new crimes and violate the terms of their post-release community supervision, like the gang member charged with the murder of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer.” It is important to note that this act is not intended to create additional “strike” offenses which would increase the state prison population.

Between 2014 and 2016, California had the second  highest increase in theft and property crimes in the United States, while most states have seen a steady decline. “According to the California Department of Justice, the value of property stolen in 2015 was $2.5 billion with an increase of 13 percent since 2014, the largest single-year increase in at least ten years.”

Restoring DNA collection would be essential to putting a halt to theft rings and serial theft due to the fact that over 450 violent crimes like  murder, rape and robbery remain unsolved. Because DNA is being collected from fewer criminals,  allowing the collection of more DNA samples will help identify suspects, clear the innocent, and free the mistakenly  convicted.

The passing of this act would mean increased state and local correctional costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually due to primarily related  increases in penalties for certain theft-related crimes, and the changes to the nonviolent offender release consideration process. There would also be an increase in state and local court-related costs of around a few million dollars annually to cover the processing of probation revocations and additional felony theft filings. State and local enforcement are not likely to exceed a couple of million dollars annually related to collecting and processing DNA samples from additional offenders.

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