Sex offenders remain free after violations

Posted on November 6, 2012. Filed under: Crime, Crime Victims, Parole |

by Jeff McDonald, North County Times
‘Nearly 500 avoid re-incarceration, prison department calls it ‘a small number’

Hundreds of sex offenders released on parole have been permitted to remain free even though they were arrested for new crimes over the past year, state prison officials say.

Terri McDonald, undersecretary of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said that more than 4,000 sex offenders were sent back to jail after committing new crimes since Oct. 1, 2011, when the state launched a program to shift tens of thousands of inmates from state prisons to county jails.

But 481 sex offenders were arrested 862 times over the same period, and all of them avoided lockup, she said.

“What we have is a small number of cases and a small number of counties at a small number of times where the jail capacity is such that some offenders are not returned to custody,” McDonald said. “There have been challenges associated with this.”

The information came to light after The Watchdog requested details about how prison officials are managing realignment, the 2011 legislation that steered tens of thousands of state inmates to county jails.

Monitoring sexual predators is a particularly sensitive topic in San Diego County because registered sex offender John Gardner violated parole repeatedly without being sent back to prison and then killed two North County teenagers.

Gardner pleaded guilty in 2010 to murdering Amber Dubois and Chelsea King and is now serving life in prison.

It is unclear how many of the convicts committed fresh offenses in San Diego County. The corrections department would not say, and county officials say most parolees under their watch who break new laws are shipped back to jail.

Statewide, the failure to lock up nearly 500 rapists, child molesters and other convicts has angered rank-and-file parole agents and raised questions about California’s year-old experiment in “realignment,” as the program is known.

One parole agent has complained to the California State Auditor anonymously, saying he speaks for others and demanding an investigation of the state’s handling of sex offenders. He claims at least 150 of them have cut off their electronic monitoring bracelets, loiter near parks or schools or live with children in violation of parole conditions because they know there will be no consequences.

“One recently in Fresno was arrested and released six times before he was finally rearrested for annoying/molesting a child,” the agent wrote. “We can no longer remain silent.”

A spokeswoman for State Auditor Elaine Howle said the office does not comment on complaints or open investigations.

Agents are reluctant to speak publicly because they fear they will be retaliated against by supervisors. Retired agents are not so shy about questioning the program.

“Committed, dedicated departmental employees are deeply wounded by their inability to work to enhance public safety,” longtime agent Robert Walsh said. Prison officials “are moving to dump huge numbers of parolees out of the system in order to save the cost of supervising them, regardless of the public-safety impact.”

Realignment, the most significant change in state corrections policy in a generation, was prompted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that directed the 33-prison system to lower its population by 33,000.

The law requires parolees who violate terms of their release to serve revocation time in county jail.

It also calls for nonviolent, nonserious and non-high-risk offenders to serve time in jails and creates a new category of post-release convicts who serve county time based on their most recent convictions.

Corrections officials say they understand the concerns of many of their parole agents, but insist they are working with county officials to make sure dangerous felons are properly supervised outside prison.

“We’re triaging cases of parolees that are coming in and working with sheriffs to best utilize beds,” McDonald said.

In recent months, Fresno and Merced counties stopped accepting many parolees recommended for return to custody because there is no room.

“We don’t have the bed space to house them because we have our own violent offenders to house,” Merced sheriff’s spokesman Tom MacKenzie told the Merced Sun-Star last month.

San Diego County appears to be weathering the challenges better, even though it received 2,567 offenders in the first 10 months of the program rather than the 2,000 convicts the state projected over the first year.

The Sheriff’s Department is expanding one of its jails and refurbishing others to make room. It also must provide new space for parole hearings that now take place in local facilities.

“We were fortunate that when we started this process we had anywhere from 800 to 1,000 empty beds,” said Cmdr. Will Brown, who oversees county lockups. “It gave us a cushion to absorb this influx of bodies that are staying with us longer.”

According to the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional planning agency, the county jail population rose 9.5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

By mid-2012, eight months into realignment, the inmate population was 5,073 and capacity was listed at 112 percent. At the end of 2010, capacity had been at 103 percent.

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California jail overhaul assessed after 6 months

Posted on August 26, 2012. Filed under: Crime, Crime Victims, Parole, Politics, Prisons, Public Safety Realignment, The Law |

By Kurtis Alexander
Fresno Bee
Published: Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The overhaul of California’s criminal justice system last year was billed as a way to get more felons into treatment and out of the vicious cycle of crime, prison and more crime.

So far, this has hardly been the case.

Most offenders who qualify for rehab services instead of incarceration under the state’s new realignment policy are still being sentenced to time behind bars, reports show. Only a fraction are ordered to programs that include mandatory drug counseling or job training.

Additionally, the majority of these offenders, because of the way the new policy works, don’t get supervision after their release from custody. This supervision was common before the realignment began.

These shortfalls are adding to concern that the restructured criminal justice system, nearly a year after its October start, may not live up to promises of rehabilitating criminals.

“Inmates are going to be coming out of custody unprepared, and they’re going to be more likely to reoffend,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. “This defeats the whole purpose of realignment.”

The realignment shifts responsibility for most nonviolent felons from the state to counties. (Violent offenders still go to state prison.) Gov. Jerry Brown saw it as a way to relieve the state’s overcrowded prison system and, on this front, it’s been a success. The prison population has shrunk by more than 15 percent.

Counties, it was expected, would do a better job of managing low-level criminals than the state, by offering treatment services tailored to local needs.

During the first six months of realignment, about 72 percent of the nearly 15,000 statewide offenders newly sentenced to counties instead of the state were given straight jail time, according to a recent report by the Chief Probation Officers of California.

That happens despite the fact that realignment allows judges to sentence low-level felons to terms in local probation programs. County probation departments are where the treatment services are run.

“I think judges are still stuck in the old mind-set where they say, ‘Hey, this guy deserves a harsher sentence,’ ” said Allen Hopper, who has studied the realignment and works as criminal justice director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Six percent of the state’s low-level offenders were sentenced to probation programs during the first six months of realignment, while 21 percent were sentenced to a combination of jail and probation, according to the recent report.

In addition, offenders serving their entire terms in county jails also don’t get supervision upon release. Had those inmates gone to state prison, as they would have before the realignment, many would have been monitored and assisted through state parole offices. But parole is no longer an option for these offenders.

“We can’t change that person’s behavior who is walking out of jail without having some sort of jurisdiction putting together plans to help them,” said Karen Pank, executive director of the Chief Probation Officers of California.

Pank and her organization are encouraging judges to sentence more low-level offenders to probation. That way, she said, they’re likely to get treatment as well as follow-up supervision once they’re on their own.

Many judges say it’s not that simple. Under the new policy, when a judge sentences an offender to a probation program, it eats up part of the total sentence, meaning less jail time. And that’s not necessarily what is warranted, they say.

“This is just part of the formula,” said Fresno Superior Court Judge Jon Conklin. “If a judge wants to give that person some supervision or services, they have to reduce the amount of custodial time that they would give.

“This is not our decision,” he added. “This is the Legislature reacting.”

The problem is especially acute in the San Joaquin Valley, where counties are handling more felons than had been expected under the prison realignment, according to the probation officers group.

The 12 counties between Kern County and San Joaquin County have been managing 8 percent more probationers, on average, than what the state projected they would under the realignment, the group says. Fresno County, for example, is supervising more than 1,100 additional offenders in its Probation Department, say county officials. The state had estimated less than 700 at this point.

By contrast, counties in the Bay Area and the Sacramento area have averaged 5 percent fewer offenders than what the state projected, according to the report.

In Fresno County, nearly 30 percent of offenders were sentenced to a probation program or a combination of probation and jail – instead of straight jail time – according to the recent report. That’s slightly above the state average of nearly 28 percent. But the percentages vary significantly from county to county, with some counties, such as Contra Costa, above 80 percent and others, such as Kern, closer to 10 percent.

Conklin called Fresno County’s numbers a good start. He said he expects the percentage of offenders going into probation to increase, not just because judges will see more benefit in probation programs but because the higher cost of locking people up may become too burdensome.

State officials overseeing the realignment said they are not in a position to comment on how judges are doing with the sentencing. They said it is a matter for each county to work out.

But California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Jeffrey Callison said that the new policy encourages counties to make use of alternatives to jail.

In Fresno County, the Probation Department, like other probation programs across the state, has begun to beef up its alternative services, from drug rehab to vocational assistance to daily check-in centers.

“We would like to get a shot at these offenders and get them into a program,” said Fresno County Chief Probation Officer Linda Penner. “We feel strongly that a period of intervention, some sort of program, is meaningful.”

Penner noted that the policy of realignment is not even a year old, and she’s optimistic that its effectiveness will improve with time.

“It’s still pretty early,” she said. “As programs strengthen and more alternatives are out there, I expect judges are going to have a higher comfort level and we’ll see more people in programs.”

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State officials: Clerical error led to accused killer being released from parole

Posted on August 2, 2012. Filed under: Crime, Crime Victims, Parole, Politics, Prisons |

Posted:   07/02/2012 06:12:01 PM PDT


Charles Edwards, accused of killing Shannon Collins, appears in court in May. The state Department of Corrections has acknowledged that a clerical error led to Edwards release from parole supervision. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel file )

SANTA CRUZ – The state’s top corrections official recently informed local prosecutors and a slain woman’s family that a clerical error by his agency prematurely ended parole supervision of a man accused in the killing.

Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee said Monday that Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matt Cate traveled to Santa Cruz about two weeks ago to notify him, as well as members of the Santa Cruz Police Department and Shannon Collins’ family, about the mistake.

“It’s a crushing, unspeakable tragedy for Shannon’s family and for our community,” Lee said. “It’s hard to imagine a typo costing someone their life.”

Charles Anthony Edwards III, 43, is accused of stabbing Collins to

Shannon Collins

death May 7 as the 38-year-old downtown store owner walked on Broadway to a hair appointment. The two didn’t know each other and the attack is believed to have been random, according to prosecutors.Edwards, who has a lengthy criminal rap sheet that began at age 13, was discharged from state parole supervision in December. While participating in a state mental health program as part of parole, he was put on the street after the state failed to conduct a required review.

“He basically said they were ultimately responsible,” Lee said of Cate.

Violet Smith of Boulder Creek, a good friend of Collins for years, said her grief was deepened by learning Edwards should not have been out.

“That is just horrible,” Smith said. “The complete randomness of everything that had to happen is completely unbelievable. I’m grieving, still just trying to figure it out. But I know that she would never want anyone to be angry. That just wasn’t in her being.”


The error, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, happened when a corrections employee set the wrong date for a mandatory hearing.

“If the state misses (an individual’s) review period for any reason, we lose the ability by law to retain that person on parole,” said Terri McDonald, undersecretary of the Department of Corrections. “There are very strict guidelines.”

McDonald said the agency has a program built in to its computer system that alerts officials to the proper time for a parolee’s one year-review period.

Edwards was placed on parole in November 2010 after being handed down an 8-year prison sentence in Los Angeles County for resisting an officer with threats or violence. As such, his review date would have been in November 2011.

However, for reasons McDonald said are still under investigation, someone entered the wrong date into the computer system, listing Edwards’ review period as April 2012.

“In January, when we went into the system to review his case, we realized the error and we realized he had to be discharged,” McDonald said.

Parole officials researched possibilities for legally maintaining his parole, but found none, McDonald said. Edwards, who was at Atascadero State Hospital, was therefore removed in January.

The Times reported that Edwards’ brother, a federal employee who asked not be named for fear of being stigmatized at work, said Edwards had spent two brief stints in a state-run outpatient program before returning to the hospital at his own request.

“He was scared,” the brother said. “He said he wasn’t ready.”

At some point after being released, Edwards, a San Francisco native, showed up in Santa Cruz, where he spent a few nights at the Homeless Services Center before the killing. Employees there said he had been cooperative and docile, and expressed an interest in connecting with a Christian community.


McDonald said such errors by the state corrections system are rare, “but even a rare event is something we’d sought a legislative change for.”

That change, McDonald said, is coming in the form of a new bill, passed last week by the Legislature. Among other provisions, the bill eliminates the automatic discharge in favor of individuals being retained on parole unless their parole agent acted to discharge them.

The change won’t affect those currently on parole, though it will apply to those sentenced after its passage, McDonald said.

“No matter how well-trained and hard-working our employees are, an individual can make an error,” she said.

Lee acknowledged the corrections department’s willingness to take responsibility, but said “nothing anyone can ever say can ever lessen the tremendous pain.”

Collins’ husband, Ken Vinson, declined to comment about the error Monday.

“I am still deeply grieving the loss of Shannon, and that’s all I’m really thinking about these days,” he said in an email to the Sentinel.

Edwards remains in County Jail, where he is being housed in a special unit for persons with mental health issues. He’s pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and related allegations and is due back in court Aug. 13 to set a date for his preliminary hearing.

His attorney, public defender Anthony Robinson, was not available for comment Monday.

Collins’ death occurred even as county and city leaders were considering increasing resources for a mental health outreach program targeting downtown. Maintaining Ongoing Stability through Treatment, or “MOST” program, which pairs outreach workers with police to perform crisis intervention and case management for clients, will see its staffing nearly doubled starting this month.

County Supervisor Neal Coonerty sought to expand the program after the Legislature last year passed Assembly Bill 109, which redirects many nonviolent offenders away from the overburdened prison system and in to county jails or diversion programs.

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Chowchilla School bus Kidnapper to be Released from Prison!

Posted on June 20, 2012. Filed under: Courts, Crime, Crime Victims, Parole, Politics, Prisons |

LA Now

June 15, 2012

Thirty-six years ago, three men kidnapped a bus full of schoolchildren for ransom before entombing them in a San Joaquin Valley rock quarry.

The 1976 crime has become part of California lore — and many of those in the small town of Chowchilla,  where it happened, thought those responsible would stay behind bars for life. But later this month, one of the three kidnappers will be a free man.

A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Richard Schoenfeld’s release became necessary after the state Supreme Court decided not to intercede in a lower court’s decision to release Schoenfeld. The state parole board had initially hoped to keep him behind bars at least until 2021, but the appellate court deemed the board’s formula of two years for every victim unfair.

Schoenfeld, the youngest of the three kidnappers, went to prison at age 22. He, his brother and another young man — all from wealthy families — kidnapped a school bus carrying 26 schoolchildren and their driver and buried them in the largest kidnapping for ransom in U.S. history.

The kidnappers made each victim climb down a ladder into a buried moving van equipped with two air tubes. Along one wall were dirty mattresses and containers of water. The men then poured dirt over the van.

All of the victims survived despite about 16 hours underground, but word in recent years that Schoenfeld might be granted parole disturbed many in Chowchilla.

For security reasons, authorities declined to say when or where Schoenfeld, 58, would be released, other than that it would be this month. He has been serving his time at a state prison in San Luis Obispo, along with his two accomplices.

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New law reduces oversight of parolees

Posted on June 8, 2012. Filed under: California State Budget, Crime, Parole, Politics, Public Safety Realignment |

A change intended to trim California’s budget shortfall has meant a more than sixfold increase in ex-convicts who are off supervision.

By Jason Song and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

June 8, 2012

The number of state prison parolees freed from law enforcement supervision jumped more than sixfold in April as a little-known law that speeds up the release process took effect.

About 8,500 parolees were taken off supervision, a number that surprised many law enforcement officials who said they were racing to figure out how to deal with it. By contrast, about 1,300 parolees were discharged in March.

The shift has two major effects. It means those parolees will receive fewer rehabilitation services designed to ease their transition out of prison. And it also effectively reduces the powers police have to monitor their conduct.

When a criminal is on parole, police have broad authority to conduct random searches and arrest him on such violations as possessing weapons or associating with other felons.

“Taking away parolee status, from a law enforcement perspective, removes a valuable tool that officers use to ensure compliance with the law,” Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said. “We will no longer have the ability to violate their parole based on criminal behavior but rather we will have to arrest and prosecute them on a new charge, which is resource-intensive and time-consuming.”

The parole change was included in several laws that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year to trim the budget shortfall by shifting from state to county authorities all responsibility for overseeing many prisoners and recently released inmates.

Under the new law, parolees who were last imprisoned for a nonviolent and nonsexual offense could be discharged in as little as six months.

Previously, they had to wait at least a year to end supervision.

Some law enforcement officials fear that a reduction in rehabilitation — which includes counseling, drug intervention and housing assistance — will make it harder for ex-criminals to get back into society and will make recidivism more likely.

“There is no reason to expect that they will be monitored or rehabilitated as they have been in the past,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley agreed, saying that the change appeared to be designed only to save the state money.

“It’s not about public safety at all,” he said.

In April, nearly 5,800 of the discharged parolees returned to the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego county areas, where they were initially arrested, according to state figures.

California officials say the number of released parolees should level out within six months, but they acknowledge that the state is on pace to far exceed the nearly 21,000 discharged last year.

The increase in parolees’ releases is one aspect of sweeping changes in the way California deals with criminals in the wake of sharp budget cuts and aU.S. Supreme Courtdecision requiring the state to reduce prison overcrowding.

Thousands of criminals who would normally serve their time in state prisons are now being kept in county jails, raising concerns about overcrowding and the

possibility of forced early release of nonviolent offenders.

The change caught many by surprise, not just authorities but parolees as well. Former prisoners interviewed by The Times say they recently went to their usual appointments with parole officers only to learn that they had been released — and that the state would no longer pay for their care.

“I was scared,” said Danny Romero, who is enrolled in a residential rehabilitation center near USC and has been to jail six times, the last for commercial burglary. “I didn’t have any money … and I thought maybe I should go rob a store like I’ve done before.”

Romero’s rehab facility agreed to pay for his continued treatment, but many other ex-convicts have either decided to simply stop or could not afford to keep it up, advocates say.

Nearly 75 people have already left rehabilitation centers that contract with the San Francisco-based Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics, according to Demetrius Andreas, the organization’s vice president of community and after-care services.

Andreas worried that many will backslide into their old habits.

“Abruptly stopping in midstream is an open invitation to return to criminal activity,” Andreas said.

Some people released from parole are able to continue to find services, although they generally cannot pay for them. Mark Faucette, vice president of the Amity Foundation, which runs a residential rehabilitation center near USC, said he has 20 clients — including Romero — who are being treated for free.

“If we just kick them to the streets, we’re going to be paying for them one way or another,” said Faucette, who added that he wasn’t sure how long the foundation could continue taking people who cannot pay.

But many other released parolees are not returning to their rehab programs.

One man with a long history of drug abuse and mental health problems was making good progress at a Haight-Ashbury center, according to Michael J. Brenner, the group’s regional director. But “as soon as the agent told him he was off parole, he disappeared downtown,” Brenner said.

A week later, the man’s mother called Brenner, worried that her son had started his old habits.

“If you see him, could you tell him to please call his mother?” Brenner recalled the woman asking.

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Prisoner exodus in California continues, sparking safety concerns

Posted on March 23, 2012. Filed under: California State Budget, Crime, Parole, Politics, Prisons, Public Safety Realignment |

By Claudia Cowan

Published March 22, 2012 |

Facing a budget crunch and pressure from the courts, California Gov. Jerry Brown is chipping away at the state’s tough-on-crime approach by shifting 33,000 felons out of the state’s prison system. Releasing prisoners early is rarely popular, so the governor came up with a new plan, coining it realignment.

“People who commit low-level offenses, or parole offenses, are now serving their time in the county jail instead of being sentenced to state prison,” explains California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matt Cate. The state has transferred nearly 22,500 prisoners, or 15 percent of the inmate population, to the counties since last October.

The problem is, many of California’s county jails are already filled to capacity, and are having to release inmates well before their sentences have been served.

In Los Angeles, Lindsay Lohan served only four hours of a month-long sentence. Lesser known offenders, like James Lucio and Angel Espinoza, were re-arrested for committing more crimes just days after their release in Gilroy.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich doesn’t want those extra prisoners, and doesn’t mince words.

“The governor is nuts,” Antonovich says. “He has committed a political malpractice that’s going to threaten the safety economically, and the safety of every individual in this state, through this reckless policy and it ought to be repealed.”

Realignment supporters say that new methods of monitoring and rehabilitation will actually reduce crime from its current historical low, but it’s a strategy never tried on this scale before, and the state needs to shed another 15,000 inmates between now and next summer.

In exchange for taking on all those extra prisoners, California’s 58 counties are getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the state to pay for housing and rehabilitation. But the ACLU just released a report saying too much of that money is going toward rebuilding or expanding jail capacity, rather than on alternatives to incarceration.

Other critics are quick to call the governor ‘soft on crime’ and statistics show that during Brown’s first stint as governor 30 years ago, California’s violent crime rate soared 36 percent.

The governor’s realignment plan is just now being implemented, but bottom line is that, whatever it’s called, thousands of prisoners will be walking the street in the biggest shakeup of California’s criminal justice system in decades.

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Spurned murder parolee, 81, held in Half Moon Bay

Posted on March 15, 2012. Filed under: Parole, Prisons |

Ellen Huet,

An 81-year-old Half Moon Bay man on parole for murder didn’t respond well to running into a woman who had spurned his marriage proposal a year earlier, authorities said Tuesday.

Clyde Wilson Streets, 81, was arrested March 1 on Bloom Lane after he asked a friend where he could find a gun. Investigators fear he was scheming to shoot the woman, said Lt. Larry Schumaker, spokesman for the San Mateo County sheriff.

Streets proposed to the woman about a year ago, Schumaker said. She said no.

When Streets ran into her again, he became agitated, asked a mutual friend where he might be able to find a gun and implied he might shoot the woman, Schumaker said. The friend went to police.

Streets was convicted of murder in Plumas County, though Schumaker didn’t know when. As a paroled felon, Streets cannot carry a firearm, and his alleged inquiry was enough to get him arrested on suspicion of violating parole, Schumaker said. He is still in custody.

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Jerry Brown affirming more releases of killers than Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis

Posted on February 8, 2012. Filed under: Courts, Crime, Parole |

Sacramento Bee

Published Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2012

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is far more likely to allow the release of paroled killers from prison than either of California’s two previous governors, newly released records show.

Brown let stand 331 of 405 – roughly 82 percent – of decisions to parole convicted killers by the state Board of Parole Hearings last year, according to an annual report to the Legislature released Tuesday.

By comparison, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger permitted the release of only about 27 percent of paroled killers, while Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ numbers were even lower – about 2 percent.

California’s governor has a constitutional right to affirm, modify or reverse such parole board decisions. Brown reversed 71, modified one, and sent two back to the board to reconsider.

“Where he finds that an inmate continues to pose a threat to the public, he exercises his authority to block the board’s grant of parole,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown.

Chris Fowler, convicted in Yolo County of second-degree murder in 1983 for killing his girlfriend’s 22-month-old son during a fit of rage, was one offender whose parole was overturned by Brown.

Though Fowler has an exemplary prison record of participation in education, ministry, self-help and Alcoholics Anonymous programs, Brown concluded that his crime was “appalling and senseless” and that no credible explanation had been offered for it.

“The utter inhumanity of Mr. Fowler’s crime coupled with his inability or unwillingness to understand, own or achieve some credible level of insight tells me that there is substantial risk of danger to the public were he to be released from prison,” Brown wrote.

Brown’s lone parole modification last year involved a Garden Grove murder case in which Tung Nguyen had been given a release date of Aug. 12, 2023.

Brown concluded that Nguyen’s “exceptional rehabilitation dictates that he should receive an immediate release on parole.”

Nguyen had held a knife to one person and acted as a lookout during a fight between two groups of people that ended in one death.

In separate action, Brown pardoned 21 people who were released from prison more than a decade ago and have had clean criminal records since then.

Of Brown’s 21 pardons, 17 involved drug offenses – marijuana was cited in six, cocaine in five, and methamphetamine in two. The other offenses were criminal conspiracy, receiving stolen property and two burglaries.

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Counties Struggle With New Probationers

Posted on January 12, 2012. Filed under: California State Budget, Crime, Parole, Politics, Public Safety Realignment |

Capital Public Radio

(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

County parole departments in California are in the third month of trying to integrate former prison inmates into county probation systems. Such inmates are classified as non-violent, non-serious, non-sex-offenders.  So far, Sacramento County has processed 700 of them, including one man, Aaron Suggs, who was arrested this week for sexually assaulting a woman and robbing her in her home.

Suggs was released to Sacramento County Probation as a non-serious offender under the state’s new “re-alignment” policy.  He had been in prison for drugs.

Alan Seeber is with Sacramento County probation.  He says the state’s classification of some parolees is flawed.

SEEBER:   “Say somebody was committed to state prison for assault with a deadly weapon and served five years of state prison time.  They were then paroled, completed their parole and then were subsequently arrested for something like a vehicle theft.  That vehicle theft would then qualify as a non-serious, non violent, non-sex offense.”

Suggs’ ten convictions in Sacramento were mostly for property crimes or drugs.

Sacramento County Probation is not sure how many of the 700 have already reoffended.   Dana Toyama with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says the state is not tracking the number of offenders who re-offend, but counties are encouraged to.

TOYAMA:  “In June, funding will be re-allocated to the counties based on the actual impact of re-alignment to the counties. So, it’s important for counties to maintain good records and good accounting for how may offenders they’re seeing.”

Toyama says nearly 8,000 inmates were released statewide to the supervision of probation departments in November and December.  Both Toyama and Seeber say studies have shown local supervision of parolees can reduce the recidivism rate from two-thirds to about one-third.

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Parolee charged in strangulation of 21-year-old Huntington Beach woman

Posted on January 11, 2012. Filed under: California State Budget, Parole, Politics, Prisons, Uncategorized |

Contra Costa Times
Posted: 01/10/2012 11:13:01 AM PST
Ean Keith Brown, who was freed from prison and on parole for burglary, was living in the vehicle in a driveway in the 8300 block of Danbury Circle, Huntington Beach Capt. Russell Reinhart said. (Google Map)

HUNTINGTON BEACH – A 38-year-old parolee was charged today with strangling a 21-year-old woman in a recreational vehicle parked in his parents’ driveway in Huntington Beach over the weekend.

Ean Keith Brown was charged with murder and faces sentencing enhancement allegations for two “strike” convictions and serious felony convictions for second-degree robbery in 1995 and burglary in 2008, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Brown, who was freed from prison and on parole for burglary, was living in the vehicle in a driveway in the 8300 block of Danbury Circle, Huntington Beach Capt. Russell Reinhart said.

The victim, Dolores “Arias” Fagan, 21, was living with relatives in the same block, according to prosecutors. The last time they saw her was when she left home about 5 p.m. Friday.

Brown is suspected of strangling Fagan in the vehicle between Friday and Sunday and leaving the body wrapped in a blanket, according to prosecutors.

Brown’s parents called police just after noon Sunday and asked them to check the vehicle, Reinhart said. Police found the body inside the vehicle, but Brown was not there.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol began a chase of Brown about 4 p.m. Sunday on the northbound Ontario (15) Freeway, Reinhart said. Police caught up to Brown and arrested him just short of the border with Nevada, Reinhart said.

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