Antelope Valley Press readers are split over who’s right in dealing with prison overcrowding, but there’s one thing on which most agree: It’s not the federal courts.
In responding to the most recent Have Your Say questions, 53.3% say they support L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s plan to either ship the extra inmate out of state or into private prisons.
Another 40% responding to the completely democratic though completely unscientific survey say they back Gov. Jerry Brown’s position that dangerous felons simply can’t be let out to roam our streets, overcrowding or not.
Only 6.7% said they support the federal courts’ position that overcrowding is dangerous and violates the inmates’ constitutional rights and protections.
I feel releasing prisoners early only because of overcrowding renders the decisions of our courts meaningless. Diane Blake Lancaster
I support Michael D. Antonovich’s position. I believe that the private prison concept is a good idea. Originally our prisons were run by churches and the recidivism rate was a lot less because you taught them how to live alternative lifestyles. There were many, many other ways to rehabilitate criminals and today our prisons are more like country clubs. I’ve actually talked to two people in my counseling that have committed crimes just to go to prison to get a break from everyday life. I think all of our prisoners should pay the price for the crimes that they do but we have to make sure that the crimes are really criminal. John Henderson Lancaster
I agree with Supervisor Antonovich on prisoners realignment. Ship them out, farm them out and keep them out of our communities. Lyle Talbot Lancaster
I support Governor Brown, and I believe that we have way too many prisoners that have got it made. Prison was designed to correct you and get your attention and have you pull your head out of where ever you have it stuck so that you will start doing what is right. The idiot judges that are forcing the governor to do this all need to spend a few nights in prison with these guys and maybe they would understand these aren’t the guys you want to let out on the street, because 70% or more will end up back in prison within two years. Skip Thacker Mojave
Dangerous felons should not be freed. Nonviolent offenders should not be there at all. The prisons are overcrowded. Nonviolent low-level offenders should be home with their families, working and contributing to society. Sharon Courser Lancaster
Has anyone wondered why our prison here in the Valley is so crowded? Maybe if we didn’t have the darn prison up here we wouldn’t have so much crime. Our state is so stupid: Just let everyone out and let the good citizens fend for themselves in their homes or on the streets. I feel if this state is stupid enough to let these felons out at least let us arm ourselves like most of the states do and I guarantee crime will be down. Release these criminals in the cities of these stupid judges. Let them deal with the crime that they are going to inflict on good people. I have a great idea: Round them all up, including the gang members, put them all on an island in the middle of nowhere, give them limited food and a black-market handgun and see how long they last. I give them less than six months. Micheline Webster Lancaster
The actual correct stance is sentencing correction since 50 to 74% recidivism proves system failure. Prisons should be for violent criminals and rehab failures. The billions spent on prisons could pay for monitoring and rehab programs. Ken Garrison Rosamond
The overcrowding issue could be tied to the three-strikes law approved by voters with no plan at the time to deal with the potential of overcrowding prison. Perhaps Brown’s idea of transferring the prisoners to private prison might work, but I wish prison would have programs available when inmates leave. Vincent White Lancaster
I go with Mike. Moonbeam vs. the feds is a circus, minus the entertainment value. Fact is, we don’t need those convicts on the streets, ostensibly under the “watchful eyes” of the probation and parole departments. We’ve already seen how that works out. Ken Kassinger Palmdale
The continuing release of dangerous felons is insanity. What needs to be done is returning many prisoners to their native countries where they will get far worse treatment than they do here even if there is overcrowding. Jerry Brown should never have been elected as governor, we have far better people to run this state. Are we all so stupid that we can’t think any better? Charles Compton Palmdale
If those brain-dead judges want the felons on the streets, then they should take them into there homes and help them out. Michael Antonovich has the right idea: ship them to a state that can take good care of them like Arizona. The idiot in charge of our prison system needs to call Sheriff Joe Arpaio and learn how to deal with the overcrowding problem. He will show the inmates the true meaning of a prisoner’s constitutional rights and protections. The inmates don’t need a five-star resort prison paid for by the taxpayers; they need a work camp they do not want to return to. As far as constitutional rights go, I have the Second Amendment right to protection from the dangerous felons roaming the streets who violate my rights and a .357-caliber to help with prison overcrowding. Daniel Joseph Palmdale
I support the governor’s stance, not solely for that reason. But, dangerous felons cannot be allowed to roam freely. Yes, the state’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded, but it is dangerous to those who work within the facilities. Prisons are for those that have shown they do not belong in society and cannot follow the rules of the society. They have lost their constitutional rights and protections. The only way I could support Supervisor Antonovich’s idea would be if the cost savings would be of sufficient savings that the Department of Corrections would be able to have a net loss to their budget. In the long run, the prisons are crowded, but that is the fault of the prisoners, not society. If the federal courts want certain things to happen, then they (the federal judges) need to finance those things, and the federal government hasn’t passed a budget in years. Gregory Carlson Rosamond
I believe that there are a lot of closed military bases that should be used to house inmates. These bases have fences, barracks and food preparation facilities on site. I support Brown’s effort to halt release of prisoners and Antonovich’s plan to send them to out of state or U.S.A. prisons, so they will not be on our streets doing more crimes. Keith Brooker Palmdale
It would take a person living under a rock not to know that right here in beautiful downtown Palmdale there are crimes being committed by freed felons. It seems to me the courts are a bunch of liberals who have no compunctions about playing a game of chess with murderers, rapists, and kidnapers. And we are the pawns. While Governor Brown does not enjoy my friendship or support on other issues I believe he is correct on this one. Robert E. West Palmdale
There is something to be said about all three. Releasing felons on our streets is an exceedingly bad decision. The court’s stance is dangerous overcrowding; that may be true but I say that once you are an inmate you have no constitutional rights and you are not protected. Your only protection is the walls you are behind, and you put yourself there. The last point has validity, too. Ship them out of this state or into other facilities; don’t be concerned with cost. The federal government isn’t, why should we be? Phil Denny Palmdale
I have an excellent program that will reduce the number of inmates in state prisons. Let the rage and hate created in our environment by these bastards be their ultimate fate as the taxpayers and the victims of these oxygen thieves get to witness their deaths after much reasonable pain and suffering. Yeah, the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment or something like that, but it wouldn’t be cruel if society would redefine what cruel is. In addition, if we agreed on such a harsh punishment and actually carried it out on a regular basis then it would no longer be unusual, would it? Robert Yapp Lancaster
Both Brown and Antonovich have solutions for this problem. What I think should happen is for Sheriff Joe Arpaio to come here and show California how to build tent prisons in the middle of nowhere where the inmates would have to wear pink and have no TV, weight rooms or Internet. Prison is not a country club: You do the crime, you suffer the consequences. Greg Dougherty Rosamond
‘If you do the crime, then do the time.” We are the only country where a convicted felon has more civil rights than a free citizen. I do not know what Governor Moonbeam’s stance is on the release of the felons on our state’s streets, but I do agree with the limited statement offered here. Our criminal justice system and the courts put them in the prisons in the first place. Inmates by definition do not have constitutional rights or protections. The courts are way off base on this one. Prisons should be a miserable place to be so no one wants a second stay. As far as shipping them out, that is not the answer either. They did the crime in our state, so they should do their time in our state. If there is overcrowding in the prisons, then we have too many prisoners. Our legislators are the cause for most of the inmates. We need fewer laws telling free citizens what we can not or no longer do. John Roberts Palmdale
The reason California’s prisons are overcrowded is due in large part because of all the undocumented aliens who decide that this new country’s laws don’t apply to them. These inmates should be sent to other prison systems that don’t continue to create a drain on our already depleting financial resources. What I always wonder is how much attention is paid to the constitutional rights of the victims of so many of these stellar inmates? The perpetrators of these crimes evidently didn’t feel their victims’ rights were worth considering when they carried out their criminal assaults. Every bit of the time assigned to these criminals should be served regardless of the overcrowding situation. Robert Roland Lancaster
I agree with Antonovich. Keep the criminals locked up in state prisons or ship inmates out of state or into private institutions. Prison realignment rewards criminal activity. Crime in California has increased since criminals have been released. Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent. Darwin M. Ochs Lancaster
This is one time I agree with Moonbeam. First off, prison isn’t supposed to be user-friendly. The whole concept is to make it so you never want to go back. Human rights activists need to find a better target. Our prisoners are treated a lot better than a vast majority of those around the world. Maybe we should be throwing a few of those activist federal judges into the hoosegow. James P. Biddle Quartz Hill
There is a easy solution to the problem. First, Governor Brown should tell the federal judges to go straight to blazes, and then hire Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Ariz., who is a real sheriff, as a consultant to set up a tent city system starting at the Mira Loma facility. Paul Zaferis Lancaster
California has spent more than $1 billion housing criminals in other states. Law enforcement has expended untold time and resources dealing with already released criminals. Rapes, murders and robberies are on the rise and there has been little evidence that released criminals will behave. I wonder if the judges who ordered the releases can sleep at night knowing the chaos that they have created? Yes, Governor Brown is doing the right thing by fighting the releases. Jim Gardner Palmdale
What’s the best and cheapest way to solve our overcrowded prison problem? As 30% to 40% of inmates are illegals, take those illegal inmates and pay Mexico to house them. Dave Walker Palmdale
I support Antonovich’s stance. Private prisons could be cheaper in the long run. Ken Gabbani Rosamond
Antonovich is known for common sense and having the health and protection of the AV residents as primary goals. The prison in Cal City is about half empty and another one in the AV’s proximity capable of housing a couple of thousand inmates is standing empty. Arne Pearson Lancaster