(excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle – November 23, 2018)
For nearly a decade, California has been sold on a series of public safety “reforms” built on a foundation of empty promises. The kind of promises told by people who want to get what they want, made to people who really want to believe what they hear.
As a family law and victims’ attorney, it’s a story I hear all too often. A story of abuse and victimization. An abuser continuing to abuse, each time promising to change. The victim feeling defeated and helpless — willing to believe almost anything.
But in this case, the abusers are a group of California policymakers and the victims are well-meaning Californians.
It started with the passage of AB109, which shifted tens of thousands of state inmates to local jails and ultimately onto our streets. It continued with Propositions 47 and 57, changing sentencing and parole policies, and authorizing mass early release. And this year, SB10 made California the first state in the nation to eliminate cash bail.
These policies all came wrapped in grand promises, each one slightly less plausible than the last. Yet Californians believed. Like the abused spouse, they so wanted to believe that, this time, it would be true.
Less incarceration and more treatment. Safer streets and schools. A fairer and more efficient justice system. Reduced costs to the state. Early release would never apply to violent or sexual offenders.