September 2nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How will a recent kidnapping case affect the push to release prisoners early?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California wants to delay an order requiring the state to reduce its prison population by more than 40,000 inmates over the next two years.

Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at 11 and kept hidden for 18 years in a backyard compound.

Last month - a three-judge panel gave California 45 days to decide how to cut its prison population, saying that was the only way to improve medical and mental health care for the inmates.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the courts can't order the state to release prisoners; and he is set to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He says cutting the state's inmate population must be done in a responsible way.

His administration is backing legislation that would cut the number of inmates, now at around 170,000, by about 37,000 over two years... Part of the plan would be to send more convicts to county jails or home detention.

And it's not just California... Several states have been under pressure to reduce prison populations to cut costs as their deficits increase and the recession means less tax money coming in.

But wait just a minute. This all comes as details continue to unfold in that horrific kidnapping case that broke near San Francisco last week... where a paroled sex offender was arrested for abducting an 11-year-old girl, holding her for 18 years and having two children with her.

The outrage over this story just might shape the debate over the early release of prisoners - as it should. This creep was released early only to do more of the same.

Here’s my question to you: How will a recent California kidnapping case affect the push for states to release prisoners early in order to save money?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mary Jo writes:
It may have some impact, but any lawmaker who votes in favor of releasing prisoners into the general population for the sole reason of saving money should be removed from office. What do these idiots think is going to have to happen to the number of police on the payroll after these folks hit the streets early? Haven't these people learned yet that there are no jobs out there for people who are not convicted felons?

F. writes:
Excuse me, but you are an idiot. Please explain to me how releasing petty criminals is the same as releasing convicted sex offenders and murderers. If we de-criminalized "victimless or moral" crimes, it would relieve the overcrowding and free up tons of money to maintain humane prison systems. Tax drugs, alcohol, guns, tobacco, and prostitution and you would have all "tough on crime" cash you could desire. When the state went into the numbers business, any moral arguments were lost.

Kal from New Jersey writes:
As a volunteer, I taught a writing class in the NJ State Prison (1800 inmates) for 5 years. It costs $40,000 a year to house, feed and guard each inmate. The population is quite diverse. At least one-third of the men in there are sociopaths who should never see the light of day. Others committed stupid crimes while young, and are capable of rehabilitation if there were more efforts made to teach them and help them re-enter society, where they could support their families...and pay taxes!

Joe writes:
Jack, As a retired homicide detective, I will say there is no excuse for the poor police work and failure by State Parole in the follow-up on Garrido's case, but we simply cannot continue to lock up so many persons in any of our states… We need to take a realistic look at the costs of state corrections and the court systems. The criminal justice system has been completely ineffective for years.

James from Anaheim, California writes:
Jack, Any one of those prisoners can say the same things and act the same way that that creep Garrido did to get out of jail early. Releasing the prisoners from jail due to the deficit sends the wrong message that anyone can and will get away with anything. I myself was molested for 6 years of my life and I don’t want to see an eyeball of any of those rapists and drug addicts near me or any of my family.

Filed under: Law Enforcement
soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Joe CE

    Its the economy, Jack. Safety is a secondary consideration.

    September 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  2. Jill

    States like California's "three strikes and you are out" laws mean alot of non violent offenders are serving life sentences for minor offenses. These are the people who should be released. Jaycee's kidnapper was released after serving only 10 of his 50 year sentence for a heinous rape of another child. As long as the prison system releases the former versus the latter, early release programs should work.

    September 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  3. John from Alabama

    Jack: Serious sex offenders should be treated like murders and 3 time losers. They should not be released to save money or for overcrowding in prisons. It is better to release white collar criminals and thiefs from prisons than release a sex offender.

    September 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  4. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    it shouldn't because they are talking about only releasing those that committed non-violent crimes many of whom, like non-violent drug offenders, should NOT have been sent to prison in the first place.

    September 2, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  5. Jenna

    How will a recent California kidnapping case affect the push for states to release prisoners early in order to save money?

    Ar-Nuld could care less!

    He line item vetoed money to care for our elderly and children and he is chomping at the bit for the early release of prisoners.

    I didn't vote for that has been actor and I refuse to vote for a GOP replacement when he is termed out!

    Roseville CA

    September 2, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  6. Cameron in SF, CA

    None. We still don't have money. Unfortunately the root cause of the criminal behavior is an unhappy childhood with broken families, a lack of respect for authorityand education and no motivation to make the most out of life. We need to focus what little money we have on getting back to strong family values. Unwed pregnant celebrities, strung out on drugs and being surrounded by expensive "things" are unhealthy role models for our children.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  7. Susan Frost

    States should concentrate on releasing the inmates who probably shouldn't have been locked up in the first place, i.e. drug possession for personal use, non-violent property crimes, and throw the key away when it comes to sexual predators. These people CANNOT be "rehabilitated" and should never be let back into society. Unfortunately, they tend to be model prisoners simply because their victims of choice – women and children – are not available to them in prison and they're all bullies and cowards (it's never about sex with them, it's about control) who are never going to mix it up with someone who can fight back.
    Hopefully the wt-behind-the-ears, gullible social-worker types who make these release decisions will get figure that out – some day!

    Tuscaloosa AL

    September 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  8. Peg from NY

    My hope is that it will enforce the need to look into every early release, especially in cases of sexual abuse of children.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Don (Ottawa)

    I think people are beginning to realize that there are certain criminals and certain crimes that require full-term incarceration. As our jails are already overcrowded, why not put these guys to good use picking vegetables and other jobs that attract illegal immigrants. Re-instituting the chain gang is a win/win situation.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Jackie in Dallas

    I hope that it reminds states, especially those led by those "states rights" advocates, that their job is to protect us citizens, first and foremost. Yes, there are a lot of ways in which most states can save money and reduce inefficiencies, but early release of dangerous prisoners is not one of them.

    Of course, if the victims of the kidnapper had been family members of CEOs of large corporations with lots of money, that guy would have rotted in his jail cell for a couple of years AFTER he died. I used to believe that the ideals of this country meant something to our leaders and legislators, but more and more I'm convinced that only money buys you a hearing with our so-called leaders, much less justice these days.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  11. Melissa

    Hopefully California will be bright and see if they can intersperse the prisoners to other states.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  12. Jill

    That sounds like a truly terrible idea. A better way to save money might be to imprison fewer people for nonviolent crimes, particularly drug use. After they're already in there, money may not be the most important thing to consider before releasing a prisoner.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  13. Pamela holt

    Pamela holt. Foley,al. Unless the state representatives responsible for this insanity , have their own family members kidnapped, they won"tcare...they will have to walk a mile in those shoes, before they even feel a twinge.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  14. roger

    It will probably slow down the release, which is stupid in most cases. But politicians will make the decisions, and I have never heard of a politician being accused of being smart! Minor offenders (non violant, non drug DEALING, etc.) should be released and followed up on. Serious sex offenders should be placed in general population and not protected from assault- what happens to them is no worse than what they did to get there!

    September 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  15. Cheryl

    It makes sense to let out small drug users that have not committed any other crime. Criminals who have committed a crime with a victim should not be let out.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  16. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    All too often, anecdotal evidence is used to rail against a much more broad policy decision. This case is absolutely stomach-turning, however the way that "justice" is dispensed and paid for in this country is obscene as well.

    Good policy starts with looking at what works on the greater scale, then applying it in a case-wise fashion. This guy should never have been set loose, but there are scores of prisoners who need support and treatment to successfully re-enter society.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Paul from Canada

    While I am not sitting here with state budget books in front of me, it seems to me a half a billion dollars is a very significant amount of money, and if it can be done without releasing violent or sexual offenders, its certainly worth a try. There are no guarantees these people won't reoffend, but then again, show me where there are guarantees in life. But this highlights how we don't emphasize reform in prisons, we simply use the threat of them to act as a deterrent....guess what? Count the numbers in there, it doesn't work.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  18. Michael Odegard (PDX, OR)

    I don't think the recent kidnapping case, as horrific as it is, will affect the push to release prisoners early.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  19. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    We can only hope that the people that are making this decision have their own spiritual awakening and don't do it. Just imagine what the crime rate will be and especially since there are no jobs for the ones being released. It will cost society 3 times as much if they do it and the number of innocent people hurt, robbed or killed will be very high as well.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  20. Tom from Philly

    Good god jack where have you been the last 30 years. The whole prison problem was brought to you by ronald reagan's drug 'control' policy which does not control the supply of drugs but does overcrowd prisons. Using the police to solve the medical problem of addiction would be torn apart if a democrat thought of it.

    I dare you to do a study state by state. Show us that its more important to our legal system to lock up someone with a few ounces of pot for YEARS, but someone who committs statutory rape might get probation or a few months.

    What im getting at is by the time u get to forcible rape and other serious crimes, THE DRUG OFFENDER GETS A LONGER SENTENCE. Our priorities are so far out of whack it unnerving

    September 2, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  21. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    The California case is the perfect example why releasing prisoners early is such a bad idea. There are many ways to cut costs, especially in California, but letting felons loose on our streets to terrorize the law abiding citizens is not. There are a lot of things the government does that are unnecessary, housing prisoners is not one of them.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  22. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think and hoped that it will. There were a lot of things missed that shouldn't have been missed in this case, that would have resulted in this child being found much earlier. There should be a law passed that will not allow child molesters or rapist out early from prison for any reason. When they are released they must be monitored very closely. It is a known fact that these kind of people most likely will return to their old ways and rehabilitating them doesn't hold much hope. If they need to release prisoners because of cost. They should release people imprisoned for using and selling drugs. They have a better chance to be rehabilitated.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  23. Ed from California

    California is a,"Hug-a-Thug" state. Where the criminal is the victim, and the victim is the criminal.
    As far as the Garrado case is concerned. No one, (Sheriff or Parole) even bothered to look around his house, ever! He's a convicted sex offender, the city, county and the state knows this. The Parole department has to look around his premises for parole violations, to make sure he is living up to his parole restrictions. Obviously, no one did.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  24. Steve

    It will or should force states to abandon the cookie cutter approach which merely focuses on savings and apply some intellectual planning and debate which lays out some thoughtful and strategic criteria as to who should or should not be released (i.e which prisoners are likely to be repeat offenders that would cost law enforcement big bucks to arrest and capture and try again).

    Clifton, VA

    September 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  25. Sherri-Illinois

    No Jack! These States will quietly to whatever they must do to save money because they are ALL financially strapped! They will release these sicko's from prison, they will close mental health facilities AND medical clinics, they will do it QUIETLY and no one will know until one of them decides to make a name for himself! SADLY!!.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  26. Brittnay Palm Beach, Florida

    Sadly I am not sure if it will but I think there should be a very realistic approach when it comes to who can be rehabilitated and who can not. It seems more and more that people who commit crimes of a sexual nature especaily agianst children are past the rehabilitation state and should therefore fulfill their max sentence. No questions. These people do not get better.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  27. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: There are individuals that have been released that should have remain in prison--and it continues---and releasing prisoners to save money--at the risk of having repeat offenders and processing them through the legal system again--that's not saving money--it is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  28. T. G. from the virgin islands

    I think that California, along with other states, would be very careful about the type of prisoners it releases. The revelation of Jaycee Dugard's kidnapper being a registered sex offender, and the police department's missed opportunities to rescued the young lady is turning into a big fiasco for the state. By the time the trial is over, California would probably maek sure that sure an incident will never happen again.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  29. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    It is my opinion that any person convicted of sexually abusing a child be neutered before being released from prison, this would take away any sexual desire in the future and the repeat offenders would drop to zero. It would probably reduce the chance that a person would commit a sex crime against a child knowing that if caught he would be neutered.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  30. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    It should not affect it at all. When you release violent scum like a rapist, you're doing just that. Someone like that will never have "paid his debt to society". Anyone convicted of a victimless crime however should never be sent to prison. How many inmates are in for narcotics posession? Release them and assign them to community service. That should take care of the prison problem. Release of any violent sex offender or predator of any kind is something that should never occur in the first place. I think the death penalty is seriously under-utilized.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  31. Terry, Chandler AZ

    This is an option that would not satisfy the ACLU, but I see no problem with early release as long as it is accompanied by a program that would include that no investigation be conducted if a convicted kidnappper/molester meets extreme bodily harm.

    September 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  32. honestjohn in Vermont

    Release the prisioners–of course not. We can transfer them all to Guantanamo and we can put that seaside facility to good use. If we have too many, we can move them to live next door to all the judges that want them released. Sounds fair.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  33. Jay in Texas

    I don't think it will have any effect on releasing nonviolent prisoners early. It's time for the press to stop with the smokescreen on this issue and, instead, tell it like it is. That is, that only nonviolent inmates will be considered for early release and it in no way would release inmates convicted of crimes like murder, kidnapping, or sexual assault early.
    Brownwood, Texas

    September 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  34. george

    How can we define justice if we don't hold our prisoners to the judgedment term of their penalty. Reward for bad behavior has never been the answer, and will never be. You do the crime, you do the time !

    September 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  35. Diana

    This is simple. Just release nonviolent offenders like the football player who shot himself in the leg and was sentenced to two years in prison for being stupid. Next, legalize drugs so that wayward young folks are sent away to these prison-universities of higher criminality.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  36. mike

    It will have no effect at all. We have bad people and will always have bad people. The bad people in our government can do more damage by far than any run of the mill criminal. The lack of health care as advocated by the Republicans will do far more damage than a few loose criminals.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  37. Colleen Brooks, Charlotte, NC

    what? Now you want to bailout the prisons?

    September 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  38. Dee in Florida

    I think it depends on whether the prisoners released are those likely to kill or kidnap someone, or if they are some of the thousands I imagine are incarcerated for lesser crimes.

    I doubt Charlie Manson will be among the released criminals, nor will other murderers or rapists.

    Perhaps if it becomes necessary to release some non-violent prisoners, it will also change the way criminals are sentenced in this country. Those, like those who kidnap, rape, murder, would get LIFE, and those who do other crimes that have never involved harming someone, will get monitored release. Then they could be required to WORK and be productive, and the really violent criminals would never see the light of day again!

    September 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  39. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    I will never understand we as a society and our courts.Year after year
    we release offenders to rape and kill more chilren.It never ends,year after year more children are hurt for life or worse by our hand in releasing more predators.Its a mindless endless terror for our nations kids.Yet our courts opt for the predators not the children.I just
    do not understand how this be it absolutely breaks my heart.
    No Jack we should not release more offenders.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  40. John

    A kidnapping case won't stop the states from releasing prisoners to save money.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  41. Kathy in Chicago

    I can tell you how to reduce the prison population, save money and not endanger a single citizen. It's called capitol punishment! Clean out the jails the old fashioned way, the prisoners can't complain about their healthcare that way. Why do inmates have any rights at all? Why let these violent animals back on the streets to hurt innocents? This country coddles criminals, pays people to be lazy lofers and doesn't hold parents accountable for their children's behavior. They should sue the parents of juvenile delinquents and make them pay for their children's incarceration! And when they do let prisoners free, how about making them pay back the state for their room and board? How about more prison work programs for non-violent crimes.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  42. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    Sex offenders absolutely should not be released early, no matter how broke California is! I lived there for 16 years, and the idea of early release is hardly a new idea. It's bad enough that murderers and rapists could be free before their sentence has been served. There has to be another way for the state to garner revenue......how about legalizing pot? I know that idea has been discussed for years, and now might be the right time to do it!

    September 2, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  43. The Broker.

    The long4er you keep people in Prisons. The worse/more contaminated they get. Much like "Swine Flue"..

    September 2, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  44. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida


    I believe in cases of crime against chuldren under age 18 the parents should be empowered to sentancing. For crimes against the elderly the children should pass sentancing on those found guilty...

    September 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  45. Jerry Alpharetta, GA

    This will have little affect on the actions that states will take to release prisoners early in order to save money. The prison system in the U.S. is theoretically designed to "reform" criminals, to make them into productive members of society, not to punish them for the crimes they have committed regardless of how heinous. Well this works as well as trying to garner valuable intelligence information from a terrorist by saying oh, pretty please tell me. Until the time when pardon boards and parole officers get a little skin in the game, the system will not change. We are loathe to hold people responsible for the decisions they make. The criminal will not change, the system must be "reformed."

    September 2, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  46. Barbie from Hollywood, CA

    If only the non-violent offenders who committed crimes and couldn't afford private attorneys to keep them from going to prison are released, it shouldn't have an impact on society, only on the workforce. I don't think any pedophiles or rapists or spouse abusers should be released. But there are too many people in jail who could have been rehabilitated on the outside for a lot less money. So I hope the prejudice against them is not due to the couple who kidnapped that little girl. Not all people walking free are innocent, and not all inmates are guilty.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  47. frankie

    Listen to John Walsh. Often parole officers are so busy that all they have time to do is wait until a parolee screws up then send him back to prison. The public is therefore the guinea pig. But also, America has an extremely high incarceration rate compared to the rest of the world, and in my opinion the changes Obama would like to see in our schools and workplaces to create a sounder society, could slowly correct this terrible problem. For now, I pray that some people are released, but carefully and for the right reasons.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  48. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    offending pedophiles belong behind bars, no ifs ands or buts. These animals are beyond sick. It seems like there are more and more of them. What is so horrific is that some are in jobs or positions where children are taught to be subservient to them.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  49. Karen, Nashville

    Sex offenders are harder to rehabilitate than most convicts, and their victims suffer horrible trauma. Release the "I'm going to make an example of you" inmates, and make room for human detritus like Garrido.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  50. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: There are a lot of people in jail who don't belong there. Alternatively, we need to understand the level of offense that released prisionars fall into. It's a fine line. It would be better to find another way to save money.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  51. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Any state that is so mismanaged and screwed up that is wants to or has to consider releasing felons will not be swayed by dangers to it’s people. Just allowing the thought to cross their minds shows contempt for its citizens. Most states show that same contempt for us as they pile tax, fee and assessment increase after tax, fee and assessment increase on an already grossly overburdened citizenry, concerned only for their own well being and well lined pockets. What time does the revolution start?

    September 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  52. Adam Mercer


    This approach is starting to take root in educaiton too...I know it seems a stretch, but seriously, if the kids can't actually do what they are supposed to be able to do, then change the requirements so they can actually do what is required. Now with the legal system, these people can't do what is required of them to function in society, so the requirements are lowered and as a result stuff that was serious enough to get them prison time is now basically "OK". My question to Arnold, and any other California poltician is this: if one of those 27,000 people gets out and kills one of your loved ones, how will you feel? If they answer honestly they will find another way to cut costs.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  53. j/NJ

    How will a recent California kidnapping case affect the push for states to release prisoners early in order to save money?

    In a very puritanical way as one might expect...you refer to one newsworthy case and one case only...nonetheless state lawmakers are likely to interpret the need for societal expiation in addition to more intrusive security which they say is the only responsible way to respond to criminal justice issues...as for Gov Schwarzenegger he does not want his constituency to think he supports prisoner release based on humanitarian grounds...clearly he will get support from the USSC's conservative majority if he petitions accordingly...perhaps he will conclude it is better to go destitute and homeless than risk the sinful horror of excusing a single non violent offender...we will see...

    September 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  54. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    release prisoners rationally...meaning release the ones who were not arrested for violent crimes...do you have any number that would reflect the reaity of what is the real number of non violent arrests?

    September 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  55. Mike Armstrong TX.

    It's going to turn the open door policy into the swinging door policy turning the public into vigelantys taking the law into there own hands.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  56. ben stockton, calif

    there is a simple solution to this problem... the men that on death row should put to death immediately.that would free up some room in the prison..the other solution would be to send yhe violent gangbangers to afganistan. they like to fight so it would be a good place for them..the other losers would be sent to either arizona or some isolated remote place work them very hard.. they say that it cost a lot of money to keep death row criminals in prison.. a 75 cent bullet would take care of the problem oops i forgot about the ACLU.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  57. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    California puts many sex offenders in mental institutions. I have a feeling they will be letting the non-violent drug offeders out who should not have been there in the first place. Hopefully most of them won't have been so tramatized by the experience that they become predators.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  58. Jane (Minnesota)

    The justice system has lapses on these people every so often – mistakes happen plus rules between states differ so much. Minnesota allowed the release of a sexual predator that had a test score so high that he should have not been released and he ended up killing a college student. His offense was tried in Federal court & he received the death penalty; something that would not have happended had he been tried in either state the crime occurred in. I would think early release apply to non violent crimes & not to cases like these.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  59. Sam in Florida

    These prisoners need to be divided up around other prisons in other states, not released early.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  60. JWC in Atlanta

    So then it boils down to either my safety or somebody else's money? Do we even have to ask which of those will come out on top?

    September 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  61. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    The early release of non-violent prisoners is one thing. They should be released, there are too many people in jail for totally idiotic reasons.

    However, when the prisoner is a sexual predator, I believe they should remain locked up for life. Pedophiles are never "cured" they will rape a child or worse kill them again, and again.

    I pray that one day, every sexual predator will receive a life sentence, that is the only way, our children will be safe in this world.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  62. Steve Canada

    Based on available information, there would appear to be some major competency issues with both the local police, as well as the parole officer..Electronic tethers are not the total answer to any parole, let alone a sex offender..Its all about the $$$$$$$$$

    September 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  63. Rory Murray

    Let American non-violent drug offenders and drunk drivers have home monitoring. The problem is the illegal immigrants. Send them back to their country of origin and make THEM carry the tab, for a change.
    Rock On Jack!
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    September 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  64. Jim


    This isn't a simple black/white issue. There are lots of factors to consider in a parole, including prisoner propensity to violence, likelihood of repeat offenses, etc. In California, as I understand, health care for prisoners was so bad as to almost constitute cruel and unusual punishment, the result of previous attempts to save money on their prison system. They brought this problem on themselves. It really seems like a competent parole board made up of experienced, professionals ought to be able to make intelligent, responsible guesses as to the danger a given parolee might pose to society. Only those deemed to pose virtually no threat should be candidates for early release. Unfortunately the release of the alleged kidnapper in the Dugard case was so grotesquely irresponsible that it raises serious questions about the competence of parole boards across the nation, especially in California, and, therefore, about the wisdom of mass releases of prisoners to save money. I understand that states such as California are presently strapped for cash and looking for ways to cut back, but callously trading public safety for money is simply not the way to go.

    Reno, Nevada

    September 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  65. Michael in Albuquerque,NM

    Most prisoners are not incarcerated as sexual offenders. Most are halfwitted drug users that didn't know enough to avoid getting caught. And, most of them are incarcerated for the benefit of the private prison industrial complex. Don't confuse these prisoners with the sexual offenders. Nobody wants child molesting perverts to be released early.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  66. Betty Kentucky

    Early release for sexual preditors and violent criminals should be out of the question. It seems like none violent petty criminals are spending more time in jail than the criminals who really need to be kept behind bars. Let's keep the real bad guys behind bars, and if we need to release some people that comitted petty offenses to make room for the real bad guys then so be it.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  67. gayle wright

    jack president obama will get this reform passed somehow with or without the republicans. the numbers tell it that they want some kind of reform wether its with the republicans or without.. I personally want it even if it's just getting the deductables lowered and a cap put on them. That is what is really killing the people.

    Gayle from chicago

    September 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  68. Dale Portland, ME.

    I don't pretend to know how it will effect releases but I would never have guessed that child molesters were among those being considered. I am a lucky survivor of an attempted molestation and I am a believer that they escalate and can never walk among my child or yours. I am already outraged to hear of the incompetent supervision in this case and likely others. This is by no means an isolated case of incompetence due so many sex offenders being added to the rolls without a commensurate increase in sex offender supervisors. If you let them out than keep your children in, impossible!

    September 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  69. Linda in Arizona

    Well, I don't see any connection. Most of the people in prison are not sex offenders, or even murderers. Obviously, those violent offenders should not be released. All non-violent drug offenders should be. I can't imagine how the private prisons will react to this though. They won't like losing their meal tickets.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  70. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    This is, of course, a serious issue in California. Prior to release, all prisoners will have to promise not to abduct any children. I'm sure that will be a more than adequate line of defense. Hopefully, the governator will come to his senses. Only in California!

    September 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  71. Alex in Seattle

    Jail should just be for those who hurt others, but they need to remain in prison. I don't see where California can cut its incarcerated population by 78% and still protect society from violent offenders. There will be a public outcry when, for example, sex offenders who only served a fraction of their sentence attack another innocent victim. Folks are upset when they learn that the latest kidnapper on served 11 years out of 50.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  72. C.K. of Colorado

    It won't affect it at all. People are concerened with the growing threat of the flu virus, the economy and overall healthcare. Releasing of prisoners is not at the top of the list.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  73. Carla Martin-Wood, Birmingham, AL

    Sexual predators have the highest rate of recidivism of any felons. WHY are they even offered parole? They should be (1) castrated, and (2) incarcerated for life with no parole. I would call them animals, but I wouldn't insult animals.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  74. Terry from Illinois

    Instead of releasing them, I say only give prisoners 1 meal a day, turn off the prison air conditioners and heaters, take away their weightlifting, take away their taxpayer dental, medical and education opportunities...

    How much do you think that would save taxpayers ?

    September 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  75. Texas Pioneer

    The top of the list to keep in prison is sex offenders. Especially child molestors.
    If you look on the sex offender web sites you will notice that every county has several thousand. What to do with them you ask.?
    Very simple.
    Give the maps to the neighborhood childrens Grandmothers, and arm them with a chain saw.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  76. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    The recent abduction incident will now force the police department to be more stern, stricter and harder on the prisoners. This situation will make the police lengthen the prison sentences for these criminals.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  77. Remo, Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    It won't change a thing. Some bureacrat will pull some statistic out of there butt and no own will challenge it and everything will go back to as is, because no one holds elected officals acccountable.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  78. james in anaheim california

    Jack anyone of those prisoners can say the same things and act the same way that that creep garrido did to get out of jail early but by releasing the prisoners from jail due to the deficit it sends the wrong message that anyone can and will get away with anything. I my self was molested for 6 years of my life and I dont want to see an eyeball of any of those rapists and drug addicts near me or any of my family. Remember what also happened to lily burke

    September 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  79. Elizabeth, Clarksville, TN

    The notorious kidnapping case should be a warning to all states. There are some people in prison because that is where they need to be to protect the rest of the population. Public safety for our children, elderly and other vunerable groups need first place consideration when deciding to let someone out of prison. The person deciding to let these thugs out of prison should ask themselves, "Do I want this person living in my neighborhood?" If the answer is no, then more than likely the person needs to stay incarcerated.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  80. Jason, Koloa HI

    If common sense prevails, did I just say that? Then Sex offenders will be the last ones let out.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  81. STAN - IL.

    Release the ones that are in there for stealing a package of meat or buying or selling a joint to smoke. We are paying too much for nice, clean, equipped, luxury places for mean and dangerous people to live in. Feed them but take away the extras that 95% of normal people do not have available to us..

    September 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  82. Drew from Pittsburgh


    In 2007, over 7.3 million people were in jail, in prision, on parole, or on probabtion. Clearly inmates that are to be released early will be on parole or probation right? Obviously California has a massive deficit in this years budget but I'm from Pennsylvania where we don't even have a budget yet... I would rather the California government look elsewhere to save money other than to letting what could be the next unibomber out of jail.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  83. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    This story is just one out of thousands in our sad penal history, and it will not affect the glacial movement of the states or federal government to remedy the problem. As long as there is a profit to be made in the prison system then it will remain as is.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  84. Marcus Owens

    A great example of why we should end the wasteful incarceration of millions of average people convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

    I, for one, would rather have a marijuana-smoker move in next door than a child molester.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  85. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    this is quite a fire in California...when you see the image quickly on tv it looked briefly like a winter scene then you realize the real destruction/event that took place.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  86. Carol Wacker


    Instead of releasing 40,000 criminals from California prisons in order to relieve overcrowding, try this idea.

    Create a list of illegals in California’s prisons and designate their countries of origin.
    Make a contract with each of those governments promising to pay $50,000 for each prisoner accepted with their promise that they will guarantee that each criminal will serve out his entire term. We will fly them to the capital of their home country.
    Send the bills and contracts to our State Department to pay. After all, it was the nonfeasance of our administrations that has allowed criminals easy access to our country.

    We give away billions in foreign aid with no strings attached. Let’s put some strings on in order to: ease our budget deficits, prevent an unnecessary rise in crime, save lives of our enforcement officers when they re-arrest the criminals, not aggravate unemployment figures, and supply a creative solution to our predicament.

    Carol Wacker

    September 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  87. Linda

    I'd suggest they cut costs by taking away medical care ("health insurance") for those who are doing serious time. And stop paying them anything for any "work" they're doing!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  88. John, Fort Collins, CO

    It appears to me there is finally a real awakening concerning sex offenders in this country and how to protect society from them. First of all, I think all of them should be required to serve their full sentence whenever convicted. Next, when they have served their time they should have to provide law enforcement officers with a copy of their front door key, request permission to leave their state, and be subject to random walk-in visits at any time, day or night, to see what they are up to; anything weird and they go back to prison for life.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  89. Julia

    Jack, not all people in prison are in prison for violent crimes. Alot of people are in prison due to non-violent crimes! Your nieve to think that everyone is in the same boat. To the majority of prosecuters it is not about justice, but its about winning. Its all a numbers game. God help you once the stamp "criminal" is posted to your name. African-Americans suffer the most. If you dont have the money to fight the system. Yes, that guy was a crip and should have never been let go from prison....but not everyone is the same....look at each case, case by case not as a lump.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  90. Ron (Maine)


    It is like releasing seriously ill patients from the hospital early because of "rules" based on saving money. Many patients go right back to the hospital because they were not really ready to be released home.

    The same is true with cutting prison populations – based on saving money.

    This is another symptom of Washington gone amuck – try trickle down effect.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  91. ilya

    I dont believe the recent kidnaping case will effect the State of Californias decision to release prisoners early because they feel that by releasing or transfering prisoners to local county Jails will save the state millions of dollars.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  92. Ed Blair

    We need to de-criminalize the marijuana laws so the prisons are not full of those "criminals' It takes up a lot of space for the same problem as alcohol does.... and we don't put them in jail unless they have done something criminal.
    Ed from Arizona

    September 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  93. Patrick Mende

    Normally you make good points, but this is simply ridiculous. Could you sensationalize the situation anymore? The process of early release of inmates will be decided upon public safety risk factors of those people who are being considered. Those who have been jailed for heinous crimes will take a back seat to people who are jailed for non-violent crimes. And YES, prisoners' health IS important – simply because someone is in jail doesn't make them sub-human.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  94. george

    forgive me jack but regarding the two crackheads who have just been jailed for kidnapping,both of these people need to be smothered in BBQ sauce and chucked into a corall full of hungry pigs.

    as far as the early release of prisoners is concerned not a chance in hell in my opinion unless of course the person being released is doing time for a non violent crime.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  95. Scott K

    It should not affect it any differently than a non-felon being found to have kidnapped and sexually abused a young girl. One person who has previously been convicted of a felony but has unfortunately fallen to recidivism should not be a bearing on the entire over crowded prison population. We already more of our citizens than any other country in the world, including your "communist China," Jack. It is disingenuous to suggest that all of these former convicts will kidnap and assault children.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  96. Sobel Knight

    As a Federal Correctional Officer, I don't feel this case will matter to the execs that will make this decision. It's a matter of money, and right now the money is going to the wrong places.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  97. Ryan naughton

    Does anyone know how many non-violent criminals are clogging the system and taxing the states resources? Why is smoking marijana legal, but selling isn't sounds hypocritical.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  98. Kal Wagenheim

    As a volunteer I taught a writing class in the NJ State Prison (1800 inmates) for 5 years. It costs $40,000 a year to house, feed & guard each inmate. The population is quite diverse. At least one-third of the men in there are sociopaths who should never see the light of day. Others committed stupid crimes while young, and are capable of rehabilitation if there were more effortx made to teach them and help them re-enter society, where they could support their famiiies...and pay taxes!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  99. Mary Ann Crowe

    It should not have any impact at all. There are thousands of inmates who are not violent and who could be released immediately with very little chance of harm to the community. Mandatory minimum sentencing has seen to it that prisons all over the country are full of non-violent inmates. Of course prison officials must use better judgment than they have in the past and only release those prisoners who pose little threat.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  100. Mary Jo

    It may have some impact, but any lawmaker who votes in favor of releasing prisoners into the general population for the sole reason of saving money should be removed from office. What do these idiots think is going to have to happen to the number of police on the payroll after these folks hit the streets early? Haven't these people learned yet that there's no jobs out there for people who are not convicted felons? Exactly how do they think these folks are going to survive without the state providing them three meals a day? It makes you wonder how these clowns get elected and, better yet, reelected!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  101. Scott K, New York, NY

    It should not affect it any differently than a non-felon being found to have kidnapped and sexually abused a young girl. One person who has previously been convicted of a felony but has unfortunately fallen to recidivism should not be a bearing on the entire over-crowded prison population. We already imprison more of our citizens than any other country in the world, including your “communist China,” Jack. It is disingenuous to suggest that all of these former convicts will kidnap and assault children.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  102. Norman Chalfant


    How many prisoners are there that are in because of the "get tough on crime" passion of several years ago? Many are in because of possession of miniscule amounts of drugs. If they were released, would that cause a crime wave? I doubt it.

    I concur that sex offenders, murderers, drug king pins, robbers, etc. should serve their full term – some even longer. That does not change my opinion that those committing minor crimes like drug possession should be incarcerated.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  103. Eileen San Diego

    Simple solution Jack. Legalize marijuana and release all of the people on non violent charges related to marijuana. That will leave plenty of room for the sicko's to stay in prison for the full length of their terms. No early parole for good behaivor. Do they even know what good behaivor is. I don't even smoke the stuff but I really could care less if anyone else does.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  104. Bobby

    Money talks; inmates walk.
    Stockton, CA

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  105. Ginny Sones

    I do not think child sex offender prisoners should EVER be released early since their recidivism rate is 100%, proven by statistics.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  106. Bobby F


    I'll tell you what this kidnapping case will do. Hopefully it will keep rapist and child molesters exactly where they belong. This man that did this terrible act was a monster. These men do not belong out in the world. If states want to start fixing the overcrowding and rediculous cost of the prison population, maybe they should do the obvious solution. Release non violent drug offenders who have no history of hurting the general public. These men smoked a joint, got caught and are amongst the same kind of animals that kidnap little girls for 18 years. No Brainer

    Bobby F
    Goose Creek, SC

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  107. Dave (Altoona, PA)

    Legalize Marijuana – release all the potheads whose only offense was getting high and there will be lots of room to keep those who really belong bars. They'll probably have empty cells for years.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  108. Clifford

    Hey Jack,

    I think we keep all creeps, such as that lunatic that got away with rape multiple times; all rapist and mass murders should never be release, the only acception to their release will be for them to becomes spy's for Irans or volunteer to serve 10 years in IRAQ and Afganistian.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  109. MIchelle Durand Parker

    When money factors into the decision making of releasing these animals back into society, the question then becomes, "Who benefits from it"? Not the victims, this has been proven time and again. There is no amount of money that will give this young woman a chance at a normal life ever, ever, ever. So the greed will continue if someone really thinks that releasing sex offenders early will save money...in the long run, The real cost is many more millions of lives, not dollars.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  110. Craig

    Well Jack,
    If the prisons only let out low level, short prison term offenders, then we should not be worried about rapists getting back out on the street. How about we start with letting out medicinal pot offenders who are abiding local laws but getting incarcerated anyway!

    San Francisco, CA

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  111. Denise Washburn

    Unfortunately what could have been a good idea for some prisoners to be released may be forfeited all together. The decision will now be based on the current emotional response of the monster who kidnapped the 11 year old girl. We could make things happen and get prisoners out and save money.....and keep the obvious perpetrators locked up....but that takes work to do it right. Level heads and dedicated work are hard to find. A good idea messed up again by circumstances.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  112. Bob Kaminski

    Well Jack, you are comparing apples and oranges. The San Fran kidnapping case should have no impact on the decision for early release of offenders from the CA prison system. This is because those eligible for early release will likely be comprised of inmates convicted of relatively non-violent, minor offenses (e.g., drug possession). The sex offenders should stay in, and in terms of their numbers, they are relatively few. There should be plenty of room for them.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  113. Anne Pottinger

    You seem to be missing the point entirely. It'd not the early release that was the problem, but the fact that state employees failed abysmally to do their jobs and follow up on the paroled sex offender. This is the issue!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  114. CR

    Just Imagine.. saving costs vs dispensing justice and proper punshment for heinous crimes!! What a world we live in... This crime should be punishable with the death penalty. Prison is too luxurioius these days. Kill them cheaply= cost savings.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  115. Kathy

    It's Simple...you do the crime you pay the time!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  116. Fenwick Macmillan

    Raise taxes or release prisoners? The wealthy, who would be the ones paying the majory of a tax increase, know darn right well that the freed convicts will commit crimes against poor people.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  117. Quantis Summers

    I do not know how it will affect the push to release certain inmates in my home state of California, but I do know that your comparison of what happened to Dugard with the what is actually being proposed in California is absurd Jack. There are no actual states that are propsing that prisons release child molesters or sex offenders. They are discussing the release of NON VIOLENT offenders. To compare a rapist to a check bouncer or a stoner caught with a sack of marijuana is a dumb as Palin and her death panel dribble. Stick to the facts and leave the sensational misinformation and comparisons to those extreme viewpoints on the other two 24 hour cable networks..

    September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  118. mario/las vegas

    Jack I don't feel everyone should be all uptight about the release of prisoners early. As an ex felon who did 22 months in prison I've witnessed and I'm also a reformed felon. Everyone who is released from prison will not revert back to crime.Some of us actually change and it sickens me to hear the uproar from people who've never walked in the shoes of a prisoners. You have some people who get drunk then drive and kill someone goes to prison gets out and never drink again do they deserve the same treatment as a rapist?

    September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  119. Jason Meyer

    Leave the sex offenders and violent criminals in jail. Let the Pot offenders out of jail, put the non violent criminals on home arrest. Its time to choose what violations ate truely criminal.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  120. Ron from SF

    It ought to be used to define who we use scarce prison resources on. Oh sure, the right wingers want to jail all the druggies, but if you want to do that and enforce 3 strikes on a stolen loaf of bread, then you have to build more capacity. You can't jail the world, protect us from sexual predators and cut the size of government. Thinking that's the way to go is as right as saying 2+2 equals 5. It’s time to get real.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  121. Isabel Francis

    Hopefully it will encourage California to legalize marijuana, release the non-violent offenders who are in prison for marijuana-related charges, and make room to keep the violent criminals and sex offenders for their full sentence. In addition, California desperately needs to enhance its revenue streams. The governor and legislature might look into regulating, growing, and selling marijuana, thereby creating jobs and adding potentially unlimited dollars to their general fund.

    Isabel from Ann Arbor

    September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  122. David Armstrong, Seoul South Korea

    Jack, we need more educational programs not jails. I support TV ad campaigns that send messages like "don't kidnap children and hold them as your sex slave" or "don't rape women" another "don't slaughter an entire family". "Don't waterboard, but abortion is ok".

    September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  123. david

    80 percent of the US prison population are non violent offenders, mostly people with drug problems.. why do we treat sick people with prison sentences.. thats why the prisons are full .. does it make sense to lock up these people with the most violent offenders.... lets do a real story on the US prison system and why its so bloated .its the failed drug policy whicjh the rest of the world is begining to reject just look at the recent developments south of the border . i will be watching for it

    September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  124. Howard Wait

    Like Willie Horton proved, we cannot make correctional policy based on a single spectacular case. This is what has brought us to the current state of affairs with the largest prison populatoin in history. It is inevitable that we must reduce the number of people incarcerated. Changing the stupidity of drug war policies is one place to start, another is early release. Does anyone really think releasing thousand of drug offenders 90 days early would constitute a public hazard? They are going to be releasesd anyway–on parole. Concentrate the resources where they matter, maybe then investigators would have better results chasing the high profile cases, instead of pot smokers.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  125. Doug in Montana

    That guy should never have been released. If he was wearing an ankle bracelet, he would not have been able to do the dirty deed again.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  126. Steve Batts

    Why should anything including murder, rape, kidnapping have any effect in the pampering of prisoners. Get real Jack this is LA LA Land your talking about.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  127. Monroe from Connecticut

    None Jack. When it comes to the all mighty dollar, states will rewrite laws and justify to the end. If you want a viable solution to this, deal with the real issue. Many inmates are in prison for drug and alcohol related crime. Money can be better spent, and saved, if resources were shifted to treat many of the ladies and gentlemen in a treatment setting. Quality of life would improve and recidivism would decrease.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  128. a.c. of La.

    Maybe we should execute all the violent crime offenders, murderers, armed robbers, Sex offenders, that should ease the burden on the jails.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  129. Wm in PA

    Unfortunately, yes. The public will be yet again mis-informed. The fact is that sex offenders have about a 7% repeat rate.
    In a nation that kills 44 thousand people on our highways each and every year with out a whimper we have taken our eye off safety and security. Keeping people in prison for more than two years decreases our safety and security.
    Yes, there are very dangerous people who must be given long incapacitative sentences but this is less than a quarter of those in prison.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  130. Katie

    Jack, thank you for asking this question.

    Because we have a 2/3 requirement in the state of California in order to pass a budget, a minority of Republicans can successfully hold up our budget as long as they want. They are so ideological about not raising taxes, that we are having to furlough teachers, prison guards, scrap crucial Cal Trans projects etc. And I'm sorry to say that I voted for Jeff Denham, one of the Republican state senators holding up the budget. I think they want California to go back into being the wild-wild west.

    Their big cost saving proposal is to release all non-violent offenders, which includes drug addicts, white collar criminals etc. Aren't these supposed to be law-and-order Republicans? And what is the point of throwing people in jail in order to *look* like we are cracking down on crime, if we are just going to let these same criminals out the back door?

    I hope the Duggard case wakes these Republicans up, otherwise I hope someone runs a Willie Horton ad on them.


    Monterey County, CA

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  131. Joe Hicks

    Jack, As a retired Homicide Detective, I will say there is no excuse for the poor plice work and failure by State Parole in the follow-up on Garrido's case, but we simply cannot continue to lock up so many persons in any of our states. That said however, we need to take a realistic look at the costs of state corrections and the court systems. The criminal Justice system has been completely ineffective for years.
    Lets lock up the real problem persons in our soceity, but end this revolving door of parolees returning time after time. Illegals are clogging up the prisons and the drug abusers are just taking up space. The debate should start with a whole new view of the criminal System!!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  132. george Cohen

    Releasing certain offenders is necessary. That does not, should not include sex offenders, or offenders committed for violent crimes or weapons offenses. It's easy to catorgorize low risk risk from high risk them assessing appropriate sentencing minus the sham of "good behavior" releases. Good behaviour in prison! Give me a break.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  133. Jon

    We need to distinguish which prisoners are to be released. Our prisons are full of drug addicts that need treament, not crime schooling in the form of punishment. Sex offenders cannot be cured. They simply are what they are. If prisons are privately owned businesses, they should make their profits through life-long prison sentences for pedaphiles.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  134. Robert Kovacs (Cape Coral,FL)

    I don't know exactly HOW the case will effect state budget cutting,
    but I know how it SHOULD effect it: cut the budgets, not by releasing violent offenders, but by repealing the idiotic mandatory sentences for drug use or sales, and in California's case, repealing the automatic 3 strikes law, whereby people have life sentences for such heinous crimes as bicycle theft.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  135. Sue Vip from Minnesota

    Jack, lets leave all the sex offenders behind bars and release all of the non violent, drug users. Why should we help a private prison company get rich while we go broke housing people who want to do themselves harm? Let's let the prostitutes go as well, we'll keep the pushers and pimps and let the users go. I'll bet every state would cut enough out of their budgets to rehire the layed off police, fire fighters teachers etc.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  136. Cindy

    Don't confuse violent offenders with non-violent offenders. With the 3 strikes law, I'm sure there are thousands of prisoners who are in prison who are non-violent or who finishing up their sentences for technical violations. Those are the prisoners that need to be released. There wasn't anything that the Courts said that requires the release of violent offenders.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  137. Justin

    Why not release the non-violent drug offenders? It would save money and free up space. This society sends people who use a little marijuana in the privacy of their home to the same place as someone that rapes and murders little children. It just doesn't make sense.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  138. Frank Hill

    The failure of the CDC to properly monitor sex offenders post parole is a tragedy for sure, but it should not shape the debate regarding the early release of non-violent inmates form prison. The vast majority of those eligible for early release are those who are incarcerated for low level drug offenses, and will be released soon anyway. Anyone that is in prison for violence or any type of sex crime will not be eligible for consideration for early release, and to try to frame the debate otherwise is to be misinformed or just dishonest.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  139. Gregory

    Well Jack, I think that California should not release prisoners early, but should instead decrease the prisoner population in in the state by moving prisoners to different prisons across the country. It is a bad idea to have people free to roam who have been sentenced. We cannot afford to have convicted prisoners free to be running around on the streets.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  140. christian rafler

    Violent offenders should remain in prison until they rot. Try to keep some of us safe. I don't think most can be reformed. Non-violent drug offenders should not be made to do time for small offenses. Instead more money should be found in our goverment health care system for addiction treatment and recovery. I guess on an average it costs $33,000 a year to house one prisoner. We house a law-abiding family of five, for about that much in my own home.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  141. David, Houston TX

    I believe the recent kidnapping case will affect the early release of those prisoners profoundly. It really sickens me to my very core that the very "idea" of parole even exists at all. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to permit prisoners to leave early, unfulfilling their moral and legal obligations, just to save a buck or two. I realize that we have a significant problem of prisoner overpopulation, however releasing them will not effectively resolve our dilemma. If anything, many other dilemmas will be created and/or expanded, such as the case with the recent kidnapping in California–Mr. Garrido should NEVER have been paroled whatsoever.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  142. DJ in Denver

    Hey Jack, The state of Colorado is thinking about letting 3,000+\- prisoners go early because of this money crunch. I understand the concern about repeat offenders. This state has a three strikes and your out law. I just thought I would mention the fact that, like the rest of us, the states aren't doing this to save money, they are out of money. Colorado, like California, is mandated to stay within their budget by law. Too bad the feds can't do this. If we had to at least break even as a country we would all be living in reality. This would put the just us in justice.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  143. Al Fitz

    If non-violent prisioners where released, the problem would be solved. Driving while suspended doesn't call for 5 years plus. Possesion of pot should'nt be a 10 year sentence.

    Al fitz from Nebraska

    September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  144. Debra L

    Jack, every prisioner in our over populated prison system is not a sex
    offender. The U.S. has as many prisioners as the entire rest of the world. What is wrong with this picture? Our criminal justice system and judicial system need to be reformed to be a hand up to those petty criminals who do not have the tools to function effectively in our
    society. Should the sex offender have been released? NO
    Our system has significant problems.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  145. Tarmeh

    This is an unprecedented event, only to represent a need for an unprecedented need for extreme measures to make laws to keep these Monsters that commit kidnap and rape in prison for life, or Castration I here is being used in some States. If it works, California should make it a Law as well

    September 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  146. Carole, Bethesda, MD

    Jack, If California had any common sense, You wouldn't need to ask this question. Of Course the case of the 18-year sex abuse, Kidnapping should have a profound impact on the stupid idea of releasing ANY violent prisoners early! I always wonder WHY judges bother to impose "time" for ANY offense, when they let prisoners get out of jail early ALL of the TIME? (We who hear these sentences always 'do the math' and figure criminals are going to do 1/3 the time the judge imposes. Why is that? Money.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  147. Karl from SF, CA

    No it shouldn't. The problem here isn't the whacko nut case that kidnapped that girl. That is a one in a billion occurrence. The core problem is that California’s decline didn’t start with this depression; it started over 30 years ago when Howard Jarvis sold the California taxpayer a bill of goods that limited tax increase to keep up with operation costs. He didn’t tell the other part of that story and that is in 30 years the state will be bankrupt and we are. There are enough non-violent inmates to bring the population down to an acceptable level.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  148. Meri Miselis

    I would find it unconscionable to grant convicted prisoners early release – especially in light of the recent California re-arrest of a man previously convicted of a sex-crime who had been granted a parole. As far as I am concerned, whoever enabled his parole should be tried right along with him, as this action provided the opportunity for the kidnapping and rape of Ms. Dugard. Anyone who grants early release or parole to the perpetrator of a violent crime diminishes the seriousness of that crime and reveals the ultimate disrespect toward victims. To me, to any female, and to anyone who is a parent or loved one of a female, providing early release to a rapist strongly suggests that the crime is not all that serious. I find that utterly disgusting in the United States of the 21st century.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  149. Sunnie

    One person wrote: "States like California’s “three strikes and you are out” laws mean alot of non violent offenders are serving life sentences for minor offenses"...I don't see how a felony is a minor offense. I assume once Marijuana laws change, there will be alot less people in the prison system. Hopefully California will see the light on that issue and we can make money and keep smaller offenses out of the prisons.....and yes, I'm a Californian!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  150. Harry

    I know this wont get aired but oh well..

    Why not just release the non violent offenders such as those in for petty things like child support, and such? Never understood why we throw them in jail anyways as i dont see how it helps get them to pay as they are obviously unable to work and most employers wont hire such people. Typical of our country to have everything backwards with jailing people like that while letting the real lowlifes such as rapist run free.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  151. Marcia Stober

    Jack, I agree the creaps should not be released from prison. But what about the tens of thousands of non-violent, first time, offenders over 50. That would clear out a lot of the inmate population. Put them on house arrest and let them provide for their families instead of many of these families becoming wards of the state. Why not have their sentences consist of community services, like rebuilding homes for people who lost theirs in hurricanes. I'd rather have my tax money spent on those types of prison programs than paying for someone to waste away when they are no threat to society.

    Marcia, Sedona, Arizona

    September 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  152. Linda

    More and more details are emerging about this kidnapping. Fingers are pointing in all directions. I seek a shift in the focus so that I can better understand how this occurred in a community in our country, I want to learn the details of how the investigation was conducted after the kidnapping, what exactly was done by the authorities following the kidnapping, how long the investigation continued, why and when the investigation stopped. Until I have a better understanding I will feel unsafe, unprotected, and fearful for all young children.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  153. Gary H. Boyd

    It should have a BIG IMPACT. Use Stimulus money to build more prisons, (helping the economy), hire plenty of folks to runs 'em (creating jobs), and incarcerate ALL OF THE BAD GUYS (cleaning up crime). That's a triple whammy.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    September 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  154. Fanny from Ga.

    Everyone in California and actually all over the Nation is understandably outraged. But the rest of the Nation didn't get a vote when Californians beat back a tax increase in a referendum. Prisons cost money. You don't want to pay taxes, don't gripe when the people you installed in office let out prisoners earlier than they should. Jack I remember people complaining about how fast the number of CA. states employees has grown. Who do you think has to follow all the three strikes and out prisoners that we sent? Americans have to understand that " THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH". You want some thing; pay for it. I want good healthcare, first class education, great social services, responsive police and city governance, win the wars we waged and don't you dare raise my taxes!! Are you bonkers!!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  155. Pete Florida

    Wait a minute, no one said release the rapists, Let's let the high dollar white collar guys go, the market is starting to do better, let the crazy bankers out to rip off some more 401ks and oh ya let the weed smokers out and we'll legalize it and tax it ya ya that's the ticket. I don't smoke weed or drink but I do think it is ridiculous to fight the border battle on both sides then lock up the locals on top of it, get over it already, quit trying to govern weed it didn't work in prohibition it is not working now, tax it!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  156. Kevin from Muskego

    Jack;If California releases that many prisoners can't you just imagine all other states doing the same.I'm glad I live in Wisconsin where we now have open carry (firearms that is)

    September 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  157. Connie , FL

    Sexual deviates and molesters really do have no control over themselves and as a result should not be allowed in society or anywhere near the general populace. It is a sad story when innocent children and women are subjected to behavior that is abhorrent in society. We need to find a place away from people for these sociopaths, but it cannot be around outside a cell.. Judges may be sympathetic but need to understand these people need to be incarcerated for safety of all. The case in Calif. proves the point.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  158. kyle

    Unfortunately the Public Safety issues in our Country have been long overlooked. It boils down to money. No one wants to pay for Public Safety, the Courts, and the Prisons. The Offenders that have commited crimes agaisnt People, on whatever level, need to be held accountable. 50 years should mean 50 years.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  159. David California

    As an ex-con I can say that the vast majority of those in prison have something wrong with them. That being said, many of them are drug addicts, and many locked up want's a new start in life. The key issue is sorting out those who can walk the line, and those who're never going to change. Sex offenders should never be allowed to leave prison early, they are some of the biggest monsters wondering the yards of prisons today, as well as those who're murderer's. It's obvious who truly belongs in prison, locked away from society, and those who're merely people who are bent on their own self destruction. And then there are those who're trying to improve their life behind the walls.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  160. Sue

    I don't understand why everytime theres a story about the early release of inmates it always goes to an example of the worst of the worst ie sex offenders, murderers etc and the fear that those are the ones being discussed as the ones that are going to be released. Well, that is not the case. This country has to many people in prison and that is a fact. We shut down the mental hospitals, so those mentaly ill people are now in prison. People battling drug addiction are in prison and should be treated out here, with the support of thier families. By the way, those horrible fires in Calif...Who do you think is at work to battle them. Inmates!!!

    September 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  161. Moe

    Jack, this is a rare and isolated case that has nothing whatsoever to do with releasing the countless Californians who are serving unnecessarily long sentences in our drug-swarmed gang-ridden prisons, for minor and victimless crimes such as possession of marijuana.

    OC, California

    September 2, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  162. Annie, Atlanta

    We’ve let hard core criminals out forever, only to repeat their crimes, while busting people with small amounts of pot. The system needs an overhaul, but that won’t happen. Sadly, we don’t like change. Too bad for us, this is just one of many areas that could use it.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  163. Ann

    I have a relative serving in Susanville for a white collar crime (state tax evasion and fraud). Prisoners are ranked pertinant to their crime. It is misleading to link no risk offenders to rapists and child molesters particularly in the release debate. Also, a prisoner given conditional release is still "property of the state" and the the state must provide their health care and pay parole officers to monitor them. Better an unconditional release of fewer non-violent offenders than a broader conditional release. Uncondtional release of non-violent offenders would save money and not endanger the public. The politicians opposing any kind of release are more interested in public perception than reality. Perhaps many of those non-violent offenders are fighting fires?

    September 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  164. Darlene, Austin Texas

    Rape at one timewas a capital offense, why not fo
    child perverts?

    September 2, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  165. Jacquie

    Jack, unfortunately with the state budgets the way they are, prisoners may be released early. If they are neutered before they leave, their desires will be diminished, good for the rest of us. This would include all sexual offenders, rapists, and murderers. It might make future offenders rethink their impending actions.]

    Palm Springs, CA

    September 2, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  166. Terry

    This is America Jack. Put a chip in their body and watch every move they make. They will be reluctant to commit their next crime.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  167. bruce schoon

    my nephew has 6 years left on a 22 year sentence for making meth, he had 6 dollars to his name when they busted him,luckily it saved his- life fed time, every day our prison systom is full of non-violent offenders from shop lifting to possesion of marijuana its too bad that there is a profit to be made by the few on our tax dollars in most of our prisons. these offenders are being housed with the murders,rapists,molestors its about time to set up more treatment centers and work related therepy for the addicts and alcaholics ,do you really think they come out a better person or do they leave with more hatred,racism and fear.We are a better country than this.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  168. Herb Kiesler, Melbourne, Fl

    Jack: I suggest Mr. Schwarzenegger better organize the inmates into work teams under strict supervision and let them work for their support. This would serve two purposes. For one, they could help rebuild our ailing infrastructure, thus earning money for the state.Furthermore, after a long day of hard labor they would lose all interest to perform criminal acts.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  169. Harry

    Part of the problem is everyone has their own little core issue and wants it enforced to the max. Thus you have the problem and why so many people are in jail that need not be in there. Yes Child Support IS one. Again i dont understand how it helps anyone by having them in jail which ends up costing us ALL to keep them there. Instead they could be out working or at most on home confinement. As said most employers hear jail and they dont want anything to do with them. That certainly wont help the child or anyone else. People need to start looking at the bigger picture instead of worrying about gettting even with others which is basically what this issue has turned into. Again i am near certain this would free up alot of jail space across the whole country. And if they dont have the training then offer something to help get them training so they can get gainfully employed. Get them out and keep the violent repeat offenders in!

    Oh and i am in Michigan.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  170. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Our culture constantly seeks to isolate us from those who deviate from a social 'norm'.

    The large 'warehouses' that once held the mentally deranged are now closed.

    States had problems then, distinguishing between the mentally deficient and the mentally ill.

    Within those facilities, there were several levels of security. Some people were kept locked up as if they were in jail; many others were allowed to leave their buildings and perform work functions such as cooking, delivering food, milking cows, washing laundry, shoveling snow, housekeeping...

    ... can prison costs be reduced with the use of prisoner labor, too?

    Even now, I read that the prisoners provide a good portion of the force that is currently fighting the California wild fires.

    The parallel in this debate is the level of monitoring required to keep offenders 'in tow'. Obviously, the current system of parole for sex offenders is flawed and needs review on a case-by-case basis.

    We need to examine our experience of recidivism within that 'released' populace. Perhaps it would yield some valuable information about the relative costs of keeping those people 'caged' versus being monitored 'out on the streets'.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  171. Todd Sicklinger


    The reason that Garrido was released earlier is the same reason that the prisons are overcrowded. The "war on drugs" has filled our prisons so that the US has a higher percentage of its people in prison than any other country.
    If we can learn the same lesson that we learned from prohibition, then we will have room to keep murders and pedophiles in jail where they belong, we can reduce the violence caused by drug gangs, and our probabtion officers will have time to properly check up on those dangerous criminals who are released.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  172. M Jagel

    The answer to your question about whether or not the current proposal to release criminal offenders will be impacted by the current Gariddo case is: YES!

    Since President Reagan's Task Force on Crime Victims and Witnesses in 1980, Crime Victim advocates across the nation have worked hard for greater victim-witness protection rights, including the right to timely notification to victim families of all judicial system hearings.

    State and federal money from court ordered offender surcharges HAVE been set aside to fund advocacy efforts within the criminal justice system, including victim notification of parole hearings, etc. Garrido's petition for sentence reduction may have just occurred before CA's enactment of new regulations. The wheels of justice grind ever so slowly.

    But, thanks to public outrage and media coverage, a CA Dept. of Corrections review has been ordered. Public outcry will likely keep the California criminal justice system on "high alert" to the extent that accountability is demanded from the bottom up. It's ironic that the criminal justice system recommendations of California's last favorite son elected to be U.S. President may prove to be the political lynchpin that terminates the terminator.

    September 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  173. John Gropper

    Incarceration seems to have become our only option.
    What about flogging? If we simply lashed person who are not sociopaths and only locked up sociopaths, we could save money and let the physically punished folks out to heal and get to work

    September 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm |