Following up with the previous article regarding the government’s ill-conceived idea of repealing ISA and Emergency Ordinance Act, below is an article regarding a similar issue happening in California at this very moment (my comment after the article)
Supreme Court orders California to release 10,000 inmates, despite governor’s protest
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday paved the way for the early release of nearly 10,000 California inmates by year’s end despite warnings by Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials that a public safety crisis looms if they’re forced to open the prison gates.
A majority of justices refused an emergency request by the governor to halt a lower court’s directive for the early release of the prisoners to ease severe overcrowding at California’s 33 adult prisons.
The decision was met with concern by law enforcement officials in the state.
Covina Police Chief Kim Raney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, said the justices ignored efforts already underway to reduce prison populations and “chose instead to allow for the release of more felons into already overburdened communities.”
Brown’s office referred a request for comment to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where Secretary Jeff Beard vowed that the state would press on with a still-pending appeal in hope of preventing the releases.
A panel of three federal judges had previously ordered the state to cut its prison population by nearly 8 percent to roughly 110,000 inmates by Dec. 31 to avoid conditions amounting to cruel and unusual punishment. That panel, responding to decades of lawsuits filed by inmates, repeatedly ordered early releases after finding inmates were needlessly dying and suffering because of inadequate medical and mental health care caused by overcrowding.
Court-appointed experts found that the prison system had a suicide rate that worsened last year to 24 per 100,000 inmates, far exceeding the national average of 16 suicides per 100,000 inmates in state prisons.
Brown had appealed the latest decision of the panel and, separately, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to cancel the early release order while considering his arguments that the state is making significant progress in improving conditions. The high court refused Friday to stop the release but did not rule on the appeal itself. Corrections Secretary Beard said the state would press on with that, so the “merits of the case can be considered without delay.”
Lawyers representing Brown had argued to the high court that releasing 10,000 more inmates would mean letting violent criminals out on the streets and overwhelm the abilities of law enforcement and social services to monitor them.
“No data suggests that a sudden release of inmates with these characteristics can be done safely,” the state said in its filing. “No state has ever done it.” (Malaysia has)
The panel of federal judges has consistently rejected that argument. The judges, prisoners’ lawyers and others say other states have marginally reduced inmate sentences without sparking an increase in crime.
The governor said the state has already transferred thousands of low-level and nonviolent offenders to county jails, but that local officials in turn have been forced into releasing some inmates early to ease their own overcrowding issues.
The Supreme Court’s ruling rejected Brown’s plea over the objections of Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who all said they would have granted the state’s request.
Scalia, in a dissent joined by Thomas, wrote that the previous order by the three-judge panel was a “terrible injunction” that threatens public safety. Scalia said the state’s evidence shows it has made meaningful progress and that such reductions in the inmate population are no longer necessary.
In recent years, the special panel of federal judges accused Brown of attempting to delay and circumvent their orders. They previously threatened to cite the governor for contempt if he did not comply.
The judges waived all state laws in June as they ordered Brown to expand good-time credits leading to early release. They also directed the governor to take other steps, including sending more inmates to firefighting camps, paroling elderly felons, leasing cells at county jails and slowing the return of thousands of inmates now housed in private prisons in other states.
If those steps fail, the judges ordered the state to release by year’s end enough inmates from a list of lower-risk offenders until it reaches the maximum allowed population.
In its latest filing with the Supreme Court, the state argued that no governor has the unilateral authority to take the steps ordered by the three-judge panel. That would require approval by the Legislature or judicial pre-emption of California’s core police powers, the administration argued.
Brown has said the state is spending $2 billion on new or expanded facilities for inmate medical and mental health treatment. That includes seven new centers for mental health treatment and the opening last June of an $839 million prison hospital in Stockton that will treat 1,722 inmates requiring long-term care. The state also has boosted hiring and salaries for all types of medical and mental health professionals.
The state has already reduced the population by 46,000 inmates since 2006.
More than half of the decrease that has occurred so far is due to a two-year-old state law – known as realignment – that is sentencing offenders convicted of crimes considered nonviolent, non-serious and non-sexual to county jails instead of state prisons.
The USA shouldn’t go far to learn about the repercussions of releasing criminals into the streets. They can see the terrible effects Malaysia is currently going through after the 2,600 criminals detained under the Emergency Ordinance Act were released at the end of 2011.
For the months since April 2013 to 3rd August 2013 alone, there were 33 shooting incidents happening across the country already. Imagine if 10,000 inmates running loose in the west coast of USA.
There is a gross lack of empathy from the supreme court judges overseeing the case above. There is a phrase, ‘the law is an ass’; it means, an application of the law that is contrary to common sense.
Here, the judges were more worried about the rights of the criminals in the prisons in California. Their well being, their basic rights as human beings eventhough most of them had committed grievous and heinous crime imaginable. These fools, who were unelected by the people and all of whom are living in secured manors with bodyguards etc couldn’t care less about the consequences of their actions or directives. On the other hand, Governor Jerry Brown, who were elected into office by the people to safeguard the people’s interests and safety is more than correct in saying that “releasing 10,000 more inmates would mean letting violent criminals out on the streets and overwhelm the abilities of law enforcement and social services to monitor them”.
Even his police chief do not agree with the decisions made by the judges. The solution was simple – build more prisons and improve on the living conditions and reduce the abuses in prisons. Perhaps only then the lawsuits from inmates can be minimised.
The naiveté of these law practitioners are beyond comprehension. Do they really believe that should one of those 10,000 criminals went on and killing an innocent victim months after he was released, it wouldn’t be their fault? Is the life of one innocent human being less valuable than the cost to build more prisons?
Read what the Suaram had to say when they urged the government back in 2011 to repeal the Emergency Ordinance Act:
Repeal Emergency Ordinance: Report
KUALA LUMPUR: The Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance (EO) should be repealed and the country should just rely on criminal laws to prosecute criminals, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
“The EO was enacted in 1969 as a temporary measure to respond to the May 13 riots. But for nearly four decades, the government has used the law to detain criminal suspects without trial for lengthy periods as a shortcut when there is insufficient evidence,” said HRW Asia division researcher Sahr Muhammed Ally today.
She was speaking to reporters after launching a 35-page report “Convicted Before Trial: Indefinite Detention Under Malaysia’s Emergency Ordinance”, a result of a one-year research project she conducted.
The report documents how the Malaysian government has detained criminal suspects indefinitely without charge or trial, and subjected them to ill-treatment while in detention at the Simpang Renggam Behavioural Rehabilitation Centre.
It also highlights how detainees are re-arrested upon court-ordered release.
Sahr pointed out that the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police had also recommended for the EO to be abolished because it had outlived its purpose and violates civil liberties.
The Royal Commission had also said the EO was a “lazy way” for the police to lock up suspects without conducting proper investigation.
“However, nothing has been done about it (since then),” she said.
Sahr also called for an investigation into Simpang Renggam’s inhumane and degrading conditions where cells are overcrowded and unhygienic, and food inedible.
Suaram secretariat member S. Arutchelvan said the EO has been abused more than the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA).
He said while there were more than 100 detainees under the ISA as of last year and more than 100 under the DDA as of end of 2004, there were 712 EO detainees as of last year (2005).
Arutchelvan said there were EO detainees who were juveniles, and detainees who have been held for almost eight years.
The EO allows for detention without trial that can be renewed indefinitely every two years, after the first 60 days of detention.
Arutchelvan said the EO can be used against anyone.
“Many who are detained are left wondering why they were detained in the first place,” he said.
He noted that other groups have also called for the EO to be repealed, including Suhakam, the Bar Council and the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights.
Also present at the launch was former EO detainee Mohd Samsudin Mohd Ibrahim, who was remanded for a total of 143 days in several lockups in Kedah, Penang and Perak before being re-arrested and detained under the EO for 60 days.
He was later ordered to be in restricted residence for two years in Jerantut for robbery.
“I lost my business and I was cut off from my family,” Mohd Samsudin said.
Sahr and Suaram will be submitting the HRW report to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz on Monday (Aug 28, 2006) at Parliament.
Was that biased report from Suaram used by the government in deciding how the EO to be repealed? We can easily imagine how that report got its way into the hands of PM Najib’s many consultants and idiotic advisors and then after a couple of hours of discussing among themselves over coffee, they decided to advise the PM that the EO and ISA should indeed be repealed. That would certainly bring more votes for Barisan Nasional in General Elections 2013!
No nationwide research was done BY the government, no in-depth review was consulted from the police, no study were made to analyse the after effects. The only thing they did was – how to write a magnificent speech on the eve of Malaysia Day 2011 to wow the rakyat.
The rakyat was indeed shocked at that time. The opposition were smiling. And fast forward to present time, the rakyat is still shocked by the shortsightedness and by all the blundering mistakes made by this administration. Meanwhile the opposition is laughing so hard, they should not even say anything. The government of Barisan Nasional is tying its own noose without anyone’e help.
‘When the enemy is making a mistake, do not interrupt them’, we would imagine that is what Anwar Ibrahim is currently thinking.
To the clueless consultants and advisors in Prime Minister’s Department, Sri Perdana as well as in Pemandu, the Bar Council and lawyers are not the ones responsible for the safety and security of the rakyat. They are not the stakeholders. If we must tell you who are the real stakeholders for this, then this article is too intelligent for you to comprehend.
Recently, taking a swipe at the EO, they was a lawyer who said (can’t remember which one, or perhaps maybe a junior minister who said it) – ‘the laws in this country is already adequate to capture a criminal. There is no need for a preventive law.’
That person must be high on drugs or maybe just plain imbecilic when he said it. It is not about capturing or punishing a criminal that we are worried about. It is about preventing and reducing crime.
There is no point capturing and putting a criminal in jail AFTER he had committed a crime or worse, he killed someone. Will 20 years jail term bring back the life of someone he has killed?
What if during a robbery, his family member was murdered by that criminal. Will his words – ‘the laws in this country is already adequate to capture a criminal. There is no need for a preventive law,’ bring back his loved ones from the dead?
Prevention of Crime Act won’t solve anything too. First, it caters for crime suspects only in Peninsular Malaysia, and it only provides 28 days remand (not detention) for investigations and conducting an enquiry. After that, if there are no concrete evidence accepted by the magistrate, the criminal will be released to plot and conceive his crime another day. And sometimes, it’s not just the law that acts like an ass, the magistrate and the below par prosecutors can be asses too.
Some people with high position may look smart, but deep inside, they are nothing more than a shady nincompoop, disguising themselves with impeccable English and surrounded by equally idiotic yes-men.
Whatever it may be, prevention is always better when lives are at stake. If there are abuses in the preventive law, you correct them and reinforce it with better check and balance within that law. We do not abandon it just because Suaram said so. Whose interests is this Prime Minister is serving?
In the effort to outdo and hijack the label ‘reformer’ from Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak wanted to be a Reformer too. What he had successfully done was unbuckling the rakyat’s safety mechanism just to please a few segments of a larger population.
No wonder the street criminals have much to thank him for.
Since we the people know that the cabinet is running around like a headless chicken, what the PM should do is this – just follow what Seinfeld had advised his friend George Constanza; “if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”
If your advisor and consultants are telling you one thing, just do the complete opposite. That should do the trick. You then will be fine.
Albert Einstein said something to the effect – ‘A problem cannot be solved with the same kind of brains that was used when the problem was first created’. We are paraphrasing of course. But the point we are making is the same…
Since the consultants and advisors gave the wrong advice to create this problem, it’s time to dump all them and get better ones.