March 17, 2014
By Bob Cox
Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.
To all my friends who are of Irish descent, have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.
I truly believe that our prison system is screwed up. I think we have filled the cells with a lot of people who really do not need to be there, but I also believe that we need to put a little trust in the people who run the system.
In the real world, if someone does not do their job, we send them down the road. That has to happen, maybe more often than it does within the prison system, but if we have placed people there that we trust, then we must let them make decisions without the extra burdens placed on them with frivolous legislation.
I have always had a problem with the strings attached to so-called “sentence reductions.” I do not have a problem of putting a limit on how many days a prisoner can have removed from his or her sentence for behaving. That is called incentive. However, if the sheriff or warden has given, then the sheriff or warden should be able to “taketh away.”
For example, in the Colorado prison system, a person whose conduct is such that it can be demonstrated that he or she has obeyed all the rules of the institution or facility, in short, been a good prisoner, the person will receive as a reward for good behavior fifteen days per month removed from the sentence. The problem is that, once that fifteen days is given it cannot be taken away, no matter how stupid the prisoner decides to be. If it could be taken away it would only add more incentive for the prisoner to behave. That seems like a no-brainer to me.
So, a look at the facts surrounding last year’s murder of DOC Director Tom Clements, we learned that the suspect, Evan Ebel, had a total of 115 days of earned time during about eight years he spent behind bars. He was evidently good for a month, then bad for another few months, but the authorities could not take away his accrued time as punishment for the bad behavior. His bad behavior included several violent offenses. Then, he gets out early and is suspected, with what I see as a pretty strong case against him, of killing Clements. He should have still been behind bars at the time.
But the Democrats in the Colorado State Senate, as they often do, see things quite differently from how I see them. That famous “Senate Committee” that I often rant about decided on a 3 – 2 vote to reject a bill that the House had already and overwhelmingly approved. The bill allowed for the removal of some of the reduction time if an inmate did not follow the rules. By rejecting the bill, the committee did little else than make the job of the persons at the prisons harder to do.
There are some people who need to be released from the jails and prisons, but there are a lot more that need to be held there as long as possible.
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© Robert R. Cox 2014