Three Strikes Letters




 

January 12, 2003 

Dear Senator Denham, 

When my wife passed away 5 years ago it was a very difficult time for me. She had just given birth to our son 12 day before and we had 5 children ages 18, 16, 8, 2 and 12 days. She died of a brain aneurysm. 

We donated her organs in the belief that is was the right thing to do and were not told ,NOR DID WE CARE who received the organ. Life is life no matter who's it is! I now have a girlfriend, A very beautiful and wonderful person that I love very much as do my children. 

She is serving a 50 year to life sentence at Valley State Prison for women in Chowchilla California under California's draconian three strikes law. She has never had a violent past and her only problem was her drug addiction. Her prior strikes occurred 10 years prior when she was 22 for being a look out for a boyfriend that broke in to 3 houses side by side. Thus 3 strikes. 10 years later she was caught with 1.26 grams of meth and was sent to prison for life. 

Now I would give my own organs to my Lisa or to anyone that needed them.It's just the right thing to do. To question who receives the organs is discriminatory and is against the Hippocratic oath every doctor takes. Please pull this awful bill and take a good look at why we incarcerate non violent drug offenders for life. It is fiscally irresponsible and also the wrong approach in dealing with drug offenders. Prop 36 passed by the voters has had a 80% success rate and is the will of the people. 

But was never made retroactive so we still incarcerate 40,000 people for petty drug charges. At 27,000 dollars per inmate each year, just do the math and you may see where the state can really save and serve the will of the voters. Gray Davis won't touch the prison budget because the CCPOA gave him 2.5 million dollars for his campaign. The same group that tried to manipulate your election campaign. 

Please help to bring California's criminal justice system back to one that is not corrupt and driven by greed. And remember that a human being no matter where they are still human beings. 

Very sincerely 

Frank Courser 



January 2003 

 http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/story/2396965p-2448663c.html

Law hurts economy

California's Three-Strike Law is not fair and effective as we think it is. This law is becoming a serious problem that is affecting our state budget. More individuals who commit non-violent crimes as their third strike are being sentenced for 25-years-to-life in prison. This is causing prisons to over populate. As a result, we need to build more prisons. Prisons are expensive. 

The cost of a maximum-security prison is $113,187 per bed. Since most of three-strikers are giving long sentences, they are sent to maximum-security prisons. 

Eighty percent of the three-strikers were convicted for petty offenses. In most of their cases, the felony could had been tried as a  misdemeanor. 

We need to know what this law was intended to be for. Was it to stop repeat offenders who had committed violent crimes such a murder, rape and assault? Instead we are giving life terms to individuals whose crime was stealing from a department store. 

The Supreme Court is now analyzing if this law is violating the 8th Amendment by giving "cruel and unusual punishment." Their decision will be given next year. 

The way we can help is by informing our community of how this issue is affecting our economy. 

LUZ E. TORRES, Bakersfield 



December 27, 2002 

Thank you for your article giving the facts to the public about California's draconian criminal justice 
system. We waste billions of dollars on a prison system that does not work. In 1980 we had 12 prison and a 383 million dollar budget. Today it's 5 billion dollars and 33 prisons with another on the drawing board. 

Gray Davis supports this because the state employees union of prison guards gave him 2.5 million 
dollars.The California Correctional Peace offices assoc. is the number one special interest group in the state.Lawrence Brown executive director of the California District Attorneys Assoc. flat out lied to the public.When asking the state to release" non violent" offenders including those sentenced under California's three strikes law, he would lead you to believe that the state was going to release the likes of Charlie Manson? 

More than half the 160,000 prisoners in our state prisons are serving time for "non violent crimes" many serving life sentences under the three strikes law for minor drug charges or petty theft ,who's priors are sometimes decades old. Lawrence Brown is trying to scare the public to think violent crime will rise if these inmates are released.When the three strikes law was passed crime did not decrease! Another lie! In fact crime is on the increase as the economy slides downward. 

Fact is that the California Department of Correction's does not rehabilitate they only punish! They have no programs to help inmates return to society rehabilitated. They work to keep inmates in the system by making it impossible to meet their parole demands. Many inmates are not allowed to be placed somewhere in the state that they can be employed or have friends that will help support them. 

Most are paroled back to where their last felony was committed, thus the highest recidivism rate in the nation! California can not afford to run the third largest prison system in the world. Write your 
assemblymen and senators and the Governor and tell them that our prison system should be the first thing cut before education. It is education,rehabilitation and job training that will reduce the crime 
rate. 

Francis Courser, Escondido Ca. 



November 8, 2002 

To:    letters@uniontrib.com 
 

I wonder how much difference there is between the cases heard by the US Supreme Court of Andrade and Ewing and those of celebrities such as Noelle Bush, Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder? Ryder stole over $5,000 dollars in merchandise, Andrade stole $153.00 dollars in merchandise. 

Who is the greater threat to society.Robert Downey Jr. failed to kick drugs over and over again and was never given prison time.Noelle Bush was caught her third time with drugs and was given 10 days jail time.Andrade had 2 prior burglary charges and Ewing had prior charges also. But who's crimes were more of a threat to society to warrant a life sentence? 

Prosecutors said they will seek no jail time for Ryder.Andrade is in the Supreme court fighting his 50 year to life sentence?Do the rich and famous get a better break from the justice system than the poor? If Andrade been an Actor would he be free from prison today.Is a life sentence for a petty crime by a poor person constitutionally correct and a life sentence for a famous person unconstitutional.  Is this just California justice? It must take the US Supreme court to figure this out because I don't get it? 

Frank Courser 
 


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