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"Nonviolent" Felons

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Our prisons are chock full of "nonviolent" felons who can be let out without any danger to the rest of us, the drumbeat goes. From San Francisco comes a cautionary tale.

Demian Bulwa and Wyatt Buchanan report in the SF Chron that Marlon Ruff was classified as a "nonviolent" prisoner. Despite the fact he was convicted of robbery, he was classified as nonviolent because he hadn't used a weapon. He "only" punched an armored car guard and stole $4600. He wasn't exactly released, but he was placed in a minimum-security program from which he easily walked away.

Last Friday, the "nonviolent" Mr. Ruff murdered San Francisco Police Officer Bryan Tuvera, who was attempting to take him into custody. Officer Tuvera's funeral will be this coming Friday.

Before we decide on any lighter sentences for "nonviolent" felons, we should be considerably more specific about what that means.

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