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article imageOp-Ed: Emptying California prisons is not working

By Gar Swaffar     Nov 12, 2013 in Crime
Valley Springs - More trouble from the "Prisoner Catch & Release Program" also known as Assembly Bill 109 signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
According to information released on Nov 12, 2013, AB 109 - the Prisoner Realignment Program forced on the State of California by the Supreme Court of the United States has failed the citizens of California again.
On Nov. 5, 2013 Calaveras Deputies noticed a man quickly leaving the area of the 2000 block of Hogan Dam Road, Valley Springs. While investigating, they spotted 27 year-old Benjamin Thomas Kerr running from an area with several storage containers on the property.
The area surrounding the storage containers, which Kerr was leaving is posted with several no trespassing signs. On further investigation at the storage containers, the Deputies found a motorcycle laying on its side near one of the storage containers which had a door opened.
After searching the area adjacent to the property, Kerr was found, although he had taken off a shirt which he had been wearing when first spotted by the Deputies.
Upon questioning, Kerr admitted to having known the motorcycle was in the storage facility, and also to being the person running away from the storage units.
Kerr while being questioned, admitted an accomplice had driven him to the site and dropped him off. Through an investigation not explained by the Calaveras sheriff Department, Deputies were led to 28 year-old Jeremiah Nathaniel James, also of Valley Springs, who was located at a gas station near the area of the burglary. James was also alleged to have been involved in the burglary attempt, and did admit to driving Kerr to the property.
James was arrested, booked into jail and charged with attempted burglary (felony), attempted vehicle theft (felony), and conspiracy to commit a crime (felony).
Kerr was arrested, and booked into jail on charges of attempted burglary (felony), attempted vehicle theft (felony), and conspiracy to commit a crime (felony).
Jeremiah Nathaniel James was on Post Release Community Supervision in Calaveras County as a result of being released from prison due to AB 109, the Prisoner Realignment Program. (aka Prisoner Catch & Release Program)
Articles highlighting some of the spectacular failures of AB 109 abound, even in the rural communities where populations are scattered over large areas. The failures cover the gamut, from prisoners released to run rampant threatening neighborhoods with a gun before being killed, to endangering citizens on the road with high-speed chases while under the influence of meth, to simply being involved in drug trafficking.
As problems go, this case seems one of the least troublesome. The vehicle wasn't actually stolen, no one got hurt and the alleged criminals are both in jail..for the moment.
However, the county jails in California are now stressed to the maximum, and all but the most violent offenders spend very little time in jail for most charges. Non-violent crimes typically result in less than two weeks in jail, and less than a week is a very common occurrence.
How long will it be, before innocent citizens simply carrying on the routine task of living their lives are gunned down, beaten to death for their spare change, or seriously harmed for no apparent reason by a released prisoner in a drug induced rage?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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