FAIR OAKS, CA –For weeks, there have been talks regarding inmate populations across the country and whether or not the inmates themselves are safe in the jails due to the pandemic.
Apparently 60 of those people who feel that way decided they were going to make a personal plea to Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom by chaining themselves together in front of his house at 6:30am.
The protesters had one message for the governor: release “all” prisoners from the jail system in order to slow the spread of the virus in the prisons.
Remarkably, even Newsom does not believe that would be a wise move.
California Highway Patrol reported responded to Newsom’s residence Monday for the protest in front of the residence.
Upon their arrival, they were met with the group who was demanding that the prisoners be released and that all transfers from prisons to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cease. The group yelled, according to the Sacramento Bee:
“Gov. Newsom, you are responsible for the COVID crisis that’s happening in prisons and jails. You must act now to save lives.”
They also placed a sign in the front yard that said:
“Your actions save lives. Free them all.”
The Highway patrol warned the protesters to leave or face arrest. Police said 14 of those in attendance failed to heed the warning and were arrested and charged with trespassing and failure to leave, unlawful assembly and failure to disperse after a warning.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reports over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 being diagnosed in the state-run prisons over the last two week. San Quentin State Prison and the California Correctional Institution have reported the most active cases in the state, 537 and 253.
In addition, over 1,500 California prison employees have been diagnosed with the disease.
Out of the 1,500 people who have the virus, over 500 have returned to work.
According to Clarion News, Newsom said:
“The worst thing we could do is a mass release, where people are just released out to the streets and sidewalks, and end up in benches and up in parks, on the side of the road. That’s not compassion, that would be…making the problem, in fact, worse.”
Newsom, however, has a plan to release thousands of inmates from the prisons, 8,000 to be exact. On July 10th, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released information on how they are going to proceed.
The prison release will be done in three total states with no clear guidelines on how long each phase will take. The first group of convicts, who have 180 days or less on their sentence will be released, provided they are not violent felons or sex offenders.
Stage two will have convicts who are aged 30 and older with less than a year left will be released.
The third and final stage will allow those who are deemed high risk of getting COVID-19 be released regardless, unless convicted of a violent felony, sex offender, or serving a life sentence without parole.
Although, at least the first stage, maybe even the second does not sound quite so bad on the surface, what they are failing to take into consideration is the criminal history of these convicts and, more importantly what their original charges were at the time of arrest.
Often times in the United States, people are arrested for many different crimes, ranging from murder to drug trafficking.
Often times, witnesses and victims in those cases do not want to show up in court for various reasons, which leaves prosecutors working to find something they can easily prove without them.
When that is the case, the alleged suspect is offered a plea bargain, so, for instance, Mr. Doe drew a firearm and robbed a person. Problem is, that victim is not cooperating with law enforcement, but at the time of him being questioned he had heroin on his person.
State drops the robbery charge if the suspect admits to possessing the heroin, now, it appears on paper the conviction was not violent, but the total story shows that the person is, actually, violent.
While there may be no easy answer in how to limit the exposure of inmates who are in prison, simply releasing people who have been convicted of a crime is dangerous, perhaps more so than the criminals themselves potentially being exposed to a virus.
Let’s flash back to a report from May to show how that went in Massachusetts:
May 5, 2020
BOSTON, MA- Over the past month, nearly 830 Massachusetts inmates have reportedly been freed over concerns about the virus spreading in prisons.
Now we’ve learned that among them are two men who are accused of raping children.
They are convicted child rapist Glenn Christie, 54-years-old, and 29-year-old Matthew Parris. Parris is accused of raping two teenage girls this year.
Both men were released from Massachusetts prisons in April. The move came following an order by the state’s supreme court for the release of hundreds of accused and convicted criminals.
In total, Massachusetts officials have released 824 inmates from state prisons between April 3 and April 24. That breaks down to approximately 36 inmates per day.
According to the state, as of the time of their report, there were approximately 110 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among inmates in the state’s prisons. That number is out of more than 310 inmates tested for the virus.
According to that same report, a total of 81 correctional officers and 23 other staffers in the state prison system have also tested positive.
Here’s some background on the two inmates released:
In 2018, Glenn Christie was convicted of repeatedly raping a 12-year-old boy. According to The Salem News, Christie was on a 10-year probation period after completing a prison term for the rapes, which happened in the city of Lynn.
He was then sentenced to return to state prison for up to two years, something that was challenged by his attorney in a request that was denied prior to this release.
“The health risks to a person in custody caused by the pandemic constitute changed circumstances,” which entitle Christie to a new hearing, Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote, according to the outlet.
“We also conclude that, in conducting that (new) review, a judge must give careful consideration not only to the risks posed by releasing the defendant –- flight, danger to others or to the community, and likelihood of further criminal acts — but also, during this pandemic, to the risk that the defendant might die or become seriously ill if kept in custody.”
His attorney argued that Christie suffers from hypothyroidism and possible thyroid cancer, kidney disease and spinal stenosis, and so he needed to be released.
Then there’s Parris, who was also released from prison because of that court order.
He was arrested less than two months ago and charged with raping and sexually assaulting two teenage girls.
Parris worked as a teaching assistant at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School. According to the charges, that’s when he contacted a 15-year-old student through Instagram.
Police said the two met at a local cemetery, which is where Parris allegedly attempted to kiss her and touch her breast.
The victim told police Parris gave her a bag with a sex toy in it before she ran off.
A little over a week later, according to police, Parris threatened and forced the girl to perform oral sex on him in the middle of a school day inside a closet.
A second victim came forward and also reported to that Parris had similarly contacted her through Instagram.
That victim said that when the two men in person, Parris forced the girl to perform oral sex on him and he then threatened the victim’s family.
She told police that the next day, Parris forced the girl to get undressed in his car before somewhere and sexually assaulting her.
According to reports, Parris had already pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated statutory rape, rape of a child with force, and kidnapping of a child.
NY just released eight sex offenders from jail – including three child rapists – and didn’t warn police.
March 29, 2020
ALBANY, NY- Let this sink in—under New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—who is being hailed as the next great thing in Democratic presidential politics, the New York State prison system just released eight sex offenders from jail.
Three of these inmates had been convicted of raping children. So, while liberals race to save prison inmates from coronavirus, we are releasing sexual deviants back into the community to rape again.
Law Enforcement Today has learned from Breitbart News that this weekend in Monroe County, New York, the jail freed more than 50 inmates from custody as part of the state’s legalized jailbreak program sponsored by the Department of Corrections and Community Services, according to WIVB-4.
The biggest outrage is that the eight were all identified by New York state courts as being likely to re-victimize children. Yet they were released. Pissed off yet? This is an outrage.
Patrick Phelan, chief of police in Greece, NY., told WIVB that his office was not notified by state officials of the sex offenders’ release, even though the state had placed them in a local Holiday Inn Express.
“We weren’t told by anyone. I think good practice would be if you’re going to release convicted felons,” Phelan said.
“Some of them very violent, some of those level three sex offenders, you might want to give law enforcement the heads up.”
Phelan further said that the inmates were not under the direct supervision of parole and the hotel staff was told to immediately notify the Department of Corrections if any of the inmates left the property.
Ok, let us get this straight…hotel staff is supposed to get involved with making sure these criminals stay on hotel property?
“So, you have a violent criminal who’s done time in state prison who’s been given the chance of parole, and not followed the conditions of their parole. That’s who you’re talking about right now,” Phelan said.
Of the four sex offenders staying at the Holiday Inn Express, three are registered level three sex offenders. New York State Court designates level 3 sex offenders as the most dangerous, “high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety.”
— Sabrina Maggiore (@SabrinaNC9) March 29, 2020
Media reached out to DOCCS for their response to Chief Phelan’s concerns, and they said the decisions on who to release was based on a “review of the underlying technical violation, not the original crime.” Really.
Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich is fuming about the decision to release the inmates into his community.
He said that he is calling on Monroe County Sheriff Baxter and all law enforcement agencies to join him in contacting Cuomo and insisting that he return the inmates to their cells at Monroe County jail.
“I think it’s being cautious and the safety of my residents is the number one priority,” said Reilich.
“This morning we sent out the notification that we normally would when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood, to notify the residents so they could be aware of what’s going on,” he continued.
Here is a statement that Reilich issued:
Cuomo’s Department of Corrections and Community Services had the audacity to defend their decision. In a statement to local media, they said:
“This significant action is being taken in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in local jails over the past few days and weeks.”
Reilich thinks the move was not necessary and he believes the jails could have handled a potential outbreak without releasing prisoners.
“The jail was doing a fine job of ensuring that there was no virus in the jail and at this point if we had run into that situation certain measures would have been taken. We’re not in that situation,” Reilich added.
Across the country, we have been told that “older, low risk” inmates would be released under these early release programs, not violent sex offenders.
It is unknown if this next statement was made with a straight face.
“Our top priority remains the public health and safety of New Yorkers during this global public health emergency and this measure will further protect a vulnerable population from contracting and transmitting this infections disease,” a department official said.
This is maddening. How in the hell can this be justified? The state of New York is clearly putting the interests of prison inmates ahead of its citizens, including its most vulnerable, children.
At a time when children will be outside, with schools across New York being closed, how long do you think before one of these perverts victimizes a child? I guarantee if it was my child, there would be hell to pay.
This latest abomination comes as Cuomo has ordered the release of 1,100 inmates who have broken the terms of their parole in fear that the convicts may contract the coronavirus in prison.
In New York City, de Blasio has said that he will have 375 inmates back out into the public sphere. On a federal level, 14 Republican and Democrat Senators—including Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—have urged the Justice Department to free felons over the age of 60.
The coronavirus outbreak is changing America, and not in a good way. We have seen in some cases the best of our country, but in others we have seen the worst. The erosion of civil liberties and the emptying of our prisons will change our country. We will not know the damage that has been done until it is too late.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!