NARSOL opposes CA Dep’t of Corrections’ blanket exclusion of sex offenders

Mr. Timothy Lockwood
Chief
Regulatory and Policy Management Branch
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations
P.O. Box 94283
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001

Comment: CDCR’s Blanket Exclusion of Inmates with Sex Offense Convictions in the Revised Sections 3177 and 3315

Dear Chief Lockwood,

NARSOL is a national advocacy organization that defends and protects the interests of citizens convicted of a sex offense. We are acutely aware that this is a very serious subject and in no way condone sexual abuse. But we are also aware that culture, politics and policy over-react when creating proportional sanctions for these offenses. A large portion of our membership is comprised of family members of those convicted of a sex offense. They have seen first-hand the brutal and unfair treatment of their loved ones.

It is clear that CDCR has unilaterally added blanket exclusions from family overnight visits for inmates with a sex offense conviction. The general logic that CDCR cites for supporting overnight family visits would certainly apply to “all” inmates. No authority is cited justifying the exclusion. This is both troubling from a due process point of view but also raises the question as to what other CDCR exclusionary policies have been promulgated which have no supporting evidence or data.

The legislative intent of Pension Code 6404 was to expand the privilege of overnight family visits to “inmates who are sentenced to life without the possibility of parole or sentenced to life without parole date established by the Board of Parole Hearings.” Given the CDCR proposed blanket exclusions for inmates with a sex offense conviction, are inmates with only life sentences a more preferred class?

CDCR states in the NOTICE OF CHANGE the benefits they forecast from the proposed Sections 3177 and 3315. This logic would also certainly apply to inmates convicted of a sex offense.

The proposed regulatory action will benefit CDCR staff, inmates, and the public by ensuring that CDCR is in compliance with the new state laws, PC 6404; but also promotes positive behavior by providing the opportunity to gain eligibility for family visits that current regulations do not provide. The revisions to the eligibility criteria for family visits is anticipated to reduce violence, decrease the level of contraband, and promote an atmosphere of positive behavior and self-improvement to better prepare an inmate for successful release and/rehabilitation.

As for the quantifiable risk associated with inmates convicted of a sex offense the recidivism rate for this population during the five-years following release is 4.0%. That is right 4.0%. This is the lowest by far of all categories except murder. Yet citizens convicted of sex offense are singled out for much harsher treatment than the rest of the felony population. The blanket exclusion is a prime example of this cultural scapegoating.

Since SB 843 passed both houses and was signed by the Governor it is clear that the legislature intended to allow overnight family visitation to inmates serving life sentences. This bill overruled existing CDCR policy on this issue and demonstrated the legislature’s clear intent to extend this privilege to this inmate population with the most severe sentences. The bill also did not contain any blanket exclusions such as those being proposed by the CDCR.

The blanket exclusion that was inserted by CDCR into Sections 3177 and 3315 is frightening in that there is no justification for this restriction. With no evidence or data to support such a restriction we are left to draw the conclusion that the motive behind the exclusion is cultural scapegoating. Sex offenders have already received their sentence so this is the CDCR “piling on” with additional punishment. Again, with no evidence or data, what other conclusion can be drawn?

Please reflect on that fact that lynching at one point in our history was accepted in the U.S. In fact, between 1877 and 1950 there are 3,959 cases of lynching in the country. Those are the confirmed cases and do not include unreported executions. We would argue that extra judicial punishment, such as the CDCR’s blanket exclusion in this case, is a modern-day version of lynching. We are aware that such language may inflame some but at times the truth is painful. And if you are a parent of someone convicted of a sex offense and who is serving their sentence, having the CDCR pile on additional punishment generates its own rage due to the ruthlessness of such actions by law enforcement.

We will be contacting Senate Public Safety Committee and the Public Safety Committee in the Assembly regarding the CDCR blanket exclusions. We doubt that the committee fully understands the scope of the extra judicial punishment being meted out by the CDCR to inmates convicted of a sex offense. If both Committees supported SB 843 we are cautiously optimistic that they will support legislation aimed to protect our loved ones from extra judicial punishment currently being applied by the CDCR.

The correct and proper thing for the CDCR to do is remove the blanket exclusion contained Sections 3177 and 3315. Modern criminal justice policy has no place for such cultural scapegoating. In fact, it is stunning to realize that law enforcement is essentially adding new punishment which has no supporting evidence or data. We have a legislature and court system to provide safeguards and a deliberative process for creating criminal justice policy. Actually, the current policy of the CDCR regarding the blanket exclusion is the perfect example of why those processes exist.

Do the right thing, remove the blanket exclusions at this early stage when the language is being finalized.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors
National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws

Letter written by Peter Marana, Director, NARSOL BOD

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    • #36464 Reply
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      Saddles

      I have to appreciate Peter’s letter to the CDCR as standing up and voicing out is very good for those that advocate on this sex issue. Believe it or not in all states it seems that government and laws go a bit to far. Sure saving lives is good but as I have mentioned it is all about the individuals personal responsiblity and one’s conscious.
      Now don’t get me wrong a bit of punishment is good or should we just law it aside as it never really happened. Its the methods they use that seem to boggle the styme the mind and also one has to meansure in christian factors which a lot of states seem to ignore or do we all have a guilty conscious.
      Isnt’ the main thing for any concretion establishment that their clients succeed or is that a pipe dream and not reality. Its as if the devil went down to Georgia in a govermental twist.
      Now folks I’m no poster child for sainthood but for principals which is what things should be about in this day and age. Even I could never understand some of these code’s and numbers associated with these things but it seems that if the common people knew the reall issues behind a lot of these law’s they would really fume up a storm. What do you think the Berekley riots were all about in the 60’sand here one has this type of issue to deal with.

    • #36523 Reply
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      Art

      I never could understand the compounding punishment that is given to anyone who breaks the law and ends up in prison.

      The punishment IS one’s loss of freedom, period. There shouldn’t be anything added but yet prisons must feel that isn’t enough and go out of their way to invent additional forms of punishment such as this bill. To all the people who come up with this stuff all I have to say is, it must be nice to be perfect.

    • #36524 Reply
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      Art

      I forgot to say, this is an example of cruel and unusual punishment.

    • #36579 Reply
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      Saddles

      I like that art but correction can be a bit too much power. And yes it tends to make some perfect. I guess its like we are in war with each other in today’s world. Now I’ve spent some time little time in jail but prison isn’t good. California seems to have a no holds bar on human’s and a control that is against a lot of the good book if you ask me.

      I’m in one of the original 13 colonies and it seems law is above a lot of authority with this way’s means and measures. If you read roman’s 13 good you will find some things we all seem to miss that can help the sex offender situation out.

      Hey I just might have to use that saying “must be nice to be perfect with my PO sometime”. I couldn’t be a corrections officer or anything in police force. Its like the Green Brea’s going bad at peace time but when is peace time?

    • #37488 Reply
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      R. Arens

      One thing that still blows my mind to this day, I never thought I’d see the day where a idiot who thinks with the wrong head is more dangerous than a homocidal drug dealer with a gun. but I guess these are the unfortunate times that we live in.

    • #38324 Reply
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      WC_TN

      I’ll tell you what the impetus behind these exclusions is. Prison staff are jaded and extremely prejudiced against sex offenders, especially child molesters. I was once neighbors with a lady who was a case manager at a C.C.A. facility located in my home county and she told me point-blank that when the child molesters on her caseload walked into her office, she wanted to just “slap the living shit” out of them.

      Prison staff as a whole have a huge moral superiority complex and think it’s their divine right and duty to make sex offenders suffer as much in prison as they possibly can. This flows from an attitude that pervades prison staff: prison isn’t nearly hard enough for sex offenders.

    • #46481 Reply
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      Josh Norman

      Has there been any new developments in regards to overnight visiting for California inmates with sex offense convictions?

    • #56526 Reply
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      Gail Eigl

      I just checked the CDCR adopted regulations and nothing has changed. Here’s what was written in Jan, 2019:

      “Inmates convicted of a sex offense may participate in regular contact or non-contact
      visits based upon their case factors and in-custody behavior, and are not excluded from
      participation in the visiting program. Allowing inmates to participate in family visits who
      have been convicted of sex offenses is not in the best interest of the public or in keeping
      with these objectives. The exclusionary criteria regarding convictions for sex offenses
      have not been imposed or removed within the proposed regulations. These restrictions
      are carried into the proposed regulatory changes in accordance with existing CCR, Title
      15, Subsection 3177(b)(1).

      What can we do to change this?

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