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California Corrections Tells a Whopper on Recividism

In a news release yesterday the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced that the recidivism rate for offenders released from state prison has declined steadily over the past five years and is now down to 44.6%.  Responding to these numbers CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan said, "The latest recidivism rate shows that we're helping more inmates learn how to live a law-abiding, productive life."  This statement is easily worthy of ten Pinocchios.  As the report notes the CDCR bases recidivism rates on how many criminals return to state prison for a new felony conviction or a parole violation within three years of their release.  Secretary Kernan must assume that everybody forgot that five years ago his boss (the Governor) signed AB109 (aka Public Safety Realignment)  into law.  Realignment prohibits prison sentences for virtually all property felonies, parole violations and even crimes like assault.  The most severe sentence a car thief, commercial burglar, or wife beater can receive under Realignment is time in county jail, and guess what?  As the state's inmate population had gone down, county jails have been filled to overflowing forcing the early release of thousands of habitual felons every week.  It may also be news to Secretary Kernan that crime has increased virtually everywhere in California, and not just property crimes.  FBI numbers released in January showed an increase in violent crime of 12.9% in the state's 67 largest cities last year.  A more recent report released by California Police Chiefs found that last year violent crime increased by 15.4% in cities with populations of less than 100,000.   
The felons no longer eligible for prison are committing new felonies at the same rate as they were prior to the adoption of Realignment.  But that number ignores the fact that in 2014, after George Soros and the ACLU pooled $8 million to hoodwink California voters into passing Proposition 47, remarkably named the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act", several of the most commonly committed theft-related felonies, were downgraded to misdemeanors.  The new felony rate for ex-cons would be much higher if stealing a $900 flat screen from Target or a 357 magnum from a car had not been converted to a misdemeanors.  This is what happens when a Governor or President politicizes the Department of Justice...you get political hogwash rather than accurate assessments of crime.  As noted earlier, most police chiefs, sheriffs and district attorneys recognize what's been going on, and fortunately not all reporters and columnists are as ignorant as the politicians think they are, as evidenced by this Associated Press story and a piece by Dan Walters in today's Sacramento Bee.      

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