Sheriff Chad Bianco of Riverside County recently criticized Governor Gavin Newsom, accusing him of allowing California’s prison system to fall into “complete disarray,” along with the early release of convicted criminals.
Sheriff Criticizes Governor’s Prison Reform Policies in California
In an interview with Fox News, Sheriff Bianco accused Governor Newsom of harboring a plan to close prisons and implied he would stop at nothing to accomplish this objective. Additionally, the sheriff asserted the governor authorized the early release of a large number of hardened criminals.
NEWSOM'S SYMPATHY FOR CRIMINALS HAS LEFT A LASTING DISEASE OF CRIME IN CALIFORNIA. HE IS NOT FIT FOR PRESIDENT. https://t.co/F3sqbCrb0l
— Robert L (@vrl5150) March 21, 2023
When Governor Newsom took office in 2019, there were approximately 122,000 inmates in California’s prisons. In an interview that year with The Fresno Bee, Newsom expressed his desire to close at least one state prison during his administration.
According to CalMatters, one prison has been closed since then and three more are scheduled to close within the next two years. Due to changes in sentencing policies and a large number of early releases during the pandemic, the state’s prison population has decreased by more than 20 percent to 95,610 inmates.
High Crime Rates in California Highlight the Need for Criminal Justice Reform
Recently, Sheriff Bianco disclosed his office was informed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that a number of convicted murderers are scheduled for release in Riverside County.
#California will close two prisons during the next year.
By increasing "good conduct credit", resulting in more early releases.
This includes, 63,000 inmates incarcerated for violent crimes, and 20,000 inmates serving life with the possibility of parole.#SundayThoughts pic.twitter.com/BwFxJswbWw
— Dr. Jimmy Yam (@JimmyJoeYam) July 25, 2021
Bianco expressed dismay, stating three of these individuals were given life sentences for murder and should not be released back into society. The sheriff held Governor Newsom accountable for this decision.
It is unknown how this situation will be resolved or whether the scheduled releases will proceed. Nonetheless, it highlights the ongoing debate in California over sentencing policies, prison reform, and public safety.
Sheriff Bianco maintains his stance that closing prisons is not the correct course of action for law-abiding citizens.
He argues the state’s high crime rates indicate that Californians are frequently victims and that closing prisons will only exacerbate the problem.
Bianco cites instances of released convicts committing violent crimes and endangering residents, such as the recent murder of a 24-year-old officer in California, which was allegedly committed by a released convict.
Comparing California suspects released on bail to those released under “Zero Bail” policies, a new study found the latter group reoffended more frequently and was accused of committing more violent crimes.