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Thursday, June 13, 2013

How criminals get to Costa Mesa

The June 4 post stated: “overcrowded prisons send overflow prisoners to County jails...”

The responsibility for incarcerating low-level prisoners was transferred from State prisons to county jails by (bill) AB109. Prisoners themselves aren’t transported from their prison cells to county jails; they’re just never transported to prison in the first place.

Wait for a prison cell -- or not

Convicted criminals usually wait in County jails for transport to prison. However, many of those convicted of nonviolent, non-sexual, non-serious (non-non-non) crimes now remain in County jails for their entire sentence.
It’s essential to know that many of those arrested on multiple charges, some very serious, are allowed to plea bargain to a lesser charge, and the serious (and more time-consuming to prosecute) charges are dropped. Then the perpetrator can serve his (or her) sentence in a county jail.

It happens like this

For example, as reported February 24 in the Santa Clarita County Signal, an easily-identified parolee ripped a smart phone off a store’s stand and ran away. He was arrested for second-degree commercial burglary, carrying a concealed weapon (a stolen and loaded pistol), possession of meth, taking a car without permission, and receiving stolen property.

He pleaded no contest to driving a car without the owner’s permission and all other charges were dropped. He was previously convicted, he violated parole, he had drugs and stolen goods in his backpack, he was armed – but he became a “non-non-non” offender for the purposes of AB 109.

Current sentencing guidelines allow him to be released, without probation, after serving half of his sentence.

And in Costa Mesa

Criminals like him who were released from OC Jail used to be routinely bussed to Costa Mesa. The idea was plenty of food and services are available here. Now the prisoners are distributed to local cities more equitably.

In the meantime, criminals who serve their sentences in prison may be picked up by friends or family upon release. Then they return to Costa Mesa. This is a consequence of having crime niduses in the city.

Others gravitate to Costa Mesa after release from prison. If they are convicted sex offenders they can camp in parks near schools, and be as close to playgrounds as they desire – as long as they list their address as “homeless.” Homeless sex offenders simply wander over to the City building to register every month.

Livin' the good life, street version

With storage facilities, free food, medical and dental care, and plenty of lawn available, they camp in the City parks. Cash for drugs, booze and other desires? Panhandling or stealing will do.

Up to us -- completely 

Community involvement, focused patrol, and eliminating the crime niduses will reduce crime in Costa Mesa.

It’s our responsibility to reduce crime. If we don’t report graffiti and suspicious activity we get the crime we deserve.

It’s our City Council’s job to rid the city of criminal attractants. If they don’t, since they work for us, we still get the crime we deserve.

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