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The heart of the proposal by Senator Steinberg provides performance-based grants to county drug and alcohol programs; and mental health programs that can document their success in keeping formally incarcerated people from returning to prison. The proposal also extends the deadline for reducing the prison population by three years and creates a panel to analyze and improve our sentencing laws. Implementing the Governor’s proposal would mean that taxpayers would continue to spend more than $50,000 per inmate to incarcerate someone in state prison, while doing nothing to disrupt the pipeline back to prison. The Governor’s proposal would perpetuate a process that negatively impacts families, unravels the fabric of our communities, weakens the financial health of our state and continues to redirect the problem onto the backs of local government.
It is hard to argue that our current polices of sentencing and incarceration are successfully keeping our communities safer and rehabilitating those who are most in need. The key to helping our men and women who are returning to our neighborhoods become positive contributors to our communities is addressing the issues that led them to engage in criminal activity. Substance abuse and mental health issues are clearly high on the list. Like many difficult situations, the solution to prison overcrowding requires innovation, creativity blended with the utilization of proven methods, not deferring the situation. By implementing Senator Steinberg’s proposal, many of those whose paths have led them astray will have the opportunity to receive the care and support they need to be thriving community members.
Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor, Fifth District, Oakland
Our September 5 food news story, "A Renegade Supper Club," misspelled the last name of Canoe Club chef Stephen Thorlton.
Our August 28 news story, "When Cops Lie," mistakenly stated that Contra Costa County Chief Assistant District Attorney Hal Jewett had declined to comment about whether his office would place a police officer who lied under oath on its Brady list. Jewett had declined to comment as to whether his office would place a cop who lied — but wasn't under oath — on its Brady list. In an interview after the story was published, Jewett said his office would place a cop who lied under oath on its Brady list.
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