Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's not often a Legislator gets to see the damage he's done.

This is excerpted from a California newspaper. The link above will take you to the entire article.

On an up note, at least he showed the courage to come forward instead of being shamed into silence (the more common outcome).


To: My fellow conservative Republicans in the Legislature

From: Pat Nolan, Assembly Republican leader, 1984-1988

Re: California's prison crisis

I was as "tough on crime" as any of you during my eight terms in the Assembly. I received the Victims Advocate Award from Parents of Murdered Children. I generally favored stronger penalties and also introduced the Death Penalty Restoration Act.

I led the fight to build more prisons.

I was "tough on crime" to make our communities safer.

But then I witnessed reality – inside prison walls. After my conviction in the Shrimpscam investigation, I served 29 months in federal custody. I was appalled to see how little is done to prepare inmates to live healthy, moral lives when they return to society – and 95 percent of prisoners will be released and return to our neighborhoods. I was frustrated that participation in religious programs is often discouraged. And I was shocked to see many people serving long sentences for minor, non- violent offenses.

Our current system of sentences and imprisonment has veered terribly off course. It costs taxpayers plenty but does not make us safer. I'm partly to blame for California's current prison crisis. I supported the expansion of our prison system. But while spending on prisons continues to skyrocket, Californians are no safer than residents of other states that have cut their prison population ...

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