Digital News Report – Sacramento – Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) issued the following statement on Massachusetts House passing Pay to Stay Legislation today. Their bill was similar to Senator Harman’s legislation that was rejected by the California Senate Public Safety Committee last week.
“Massachusetts, home of Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, state-run health care and a myriad of other “politically correct” positions, was able to pass Pay to Stay prison fee legislation today with votes to spare. In California, where there is a multi-billion dollar deficit, a federally appointed prison healthcare receiver and a three-judge panel demanding the state release prisoners because of overcrowding, deemed the same type measure – Senate Bill 1364 – not politically correct enough to even out of committee – let alone one house of the legislature.
“It defies logic that a state in the economic condition California finds itself, would not seriously consider alternate ways to increase prison dollars and reduce inmate recidivism. When is California’s legislature going to stop kicking the taxpayer in the face?
“One county in Massachusetts raised over $700,000 in two short years implementing the same program as what was called for in my bill, SB 1364. The Sheriff of that county, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, came all the way to California to explain and answer questions last week in Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill was hardly given any attention which just goes to show you how uninterested liberal legislators are in actually finding solutions that don’t involve easing life for inmates.”
SB 1364 would have given the California Department of Corrections and county sheriffs the authority to set up programs to charge inmates in their facilities nominal fees for discretionary items and a per diem room and board fee. The fees would have been capped at $25 a day.
The debt of an indigent prisoner would have been forgiven if that person stayed out of prison for two years after release. The measure also offered incentives for inmates that participated in rehabilitation or education programs. California’s recidivism rate currently stands at 70% and less than half of the inmates in state prison participate in any program to better themselves.
“It looks to me as if liberal legislators in California are way, way out of step with what traditional Democrats and Republicans across the country are beginning to believe is good policy.
Senator Tom Harman , an outspoken critic of the 2009 plan to release tens of thousand of convicted felons back into our streets and neighborhoods in an effort to save the state money, is a strong proponent of tough on crime measures and California’s death penalty law.