Monday, March 15, 2010

Unintended Consequences

One result of the new law governing prisoner releases is that violation of parole terms itself, cannot be used to return someone to prison, leading to the consequence of someone clearly—according to the informed judgement of parole or police officers—involved in criminal behavior, who could have been rounded up via term violations, but as actionable evidence may not be available, no more.

An excerpt from the article from the Los Angeles Times.

“The union representing Los Angeles police officers said Wednesday that a parolee with 19 arrests and four convictions underscores how laws meant to ease prison overcrowding could pose a serious -- and ongoing -- threat to public safety. Ezra Hooker Sr. was arrested Jan. 5 after allegedly pointing a rifle at a prostitute and leading LAPD officers on a high-speed chase on South Los Angeles freeways.

“During the pursuit, which LAPD investigators said hit 100 mph, Hooker threw a brick at officers and discarded a rifle before crashing his car. Hooker was found to be wearing body armor at the time of his arrest, police said.

“Sources familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about Hooker's criminal record, said the 43-year-old South L.A. resident had 19 prior arrests dating back to the 1970s, including murder and manslaughter. He served time in state prison for narcotics and gun possession.

“Yet he was classified by the state Department of Corrections and Parole as a low-level offender and had most recently been paroled in February 2009, according to sources.

“A new law that went into effect this year aimed to cut the state inmate population by about 6,500. The reductions, targeting low-level offenders, are achieved in part through good-behavior credits but also by revising parole rules to stop police agencies from returning nonviolent offenders to prison for minor parole violations.”