In 2011, Jerry Brown succeeded Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor of America’s most populous state. This began the Democrat’s third term after a 28-year absence, having replaced another Republican actor, Ronald Reagan, in 1975 and leaving office in 1983.
One common thread of his long political career is his allegiance to the far-left wing of his party.
Evidence of his extremism can be found in the absurd leniency he seems to show the state’s most violent criminals. Since reclaiming the governorship three years ago, almost 1,400 prisoners serving life sentences were released back into the population.
While about eight in 10 of these convicts were convicted of murder, rapists and kidnappers are also among those granted freedom based on Brown’s recommendation.
For the sake of comparison, former California Gov. Gray Davis, who held office for roughly the same amount of time as Brown has thus far into this term, approved the release of two such violent criminals.
While he has unleashed 700 times more of these thugs than Davis, the percentage of parole board decisions he is inclined to approve is similarly startling when compared to others in his position. Brown’s 82 percent rate stands in stark contrast to the 27 percent of decisions backed by Schwarzenegger.
One man in particular, Ernest Morgan, was previously denied parole under Schwarzenegger, who said he exhibited an “unreasonable risk to public safety.”
Brown, however, felt the man who brutally shot his teenaged stepsister now deserves to enjoy life outside of prison.
Crime Victims Action Alliance Executive Director Christine Ward said Brown is “playing Russian roulette with public safety,” describing the mass release as “a change of philosophy that can be dangerous.”
Under Brown, 2012 saw the release of a record 670 prisoners serving life sentences.
While it is true that the state’s parole board has recommended more releases in recent years, Brown unquestionably supports both a much higher percentage and greater number of these recommendations than others in his position.
His office indicated an overcrowded prison system was not a factor in any of the releases. One can only assume, then, that he believes individuals convicted of some of his state’s most heinous crimes should only serve truncated sentences in their repayment to society.
Brown’s eagerness to open California’s prison doors for hundreds of murderers each year further dilutes any meaning the term “life sentence” still possesses.
–B. Christopher Agee
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