WE QUERIED THE SIX RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR — FOUR RESPONDED
The San Quentin News sent five questions to each of the six candidates for California governor. We heard from four of them: Carlos Alvarez, Peace and Freedom Party; Chelene Nightingale, American Independent Party; Dale Ogden, Libertarian Party; and Laura Wells, Green Party. Missing are Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman. The questions:
1) Senator James Webb of Virginia noted that the United States has five percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. He concluded that either Americans are five times as evil as people in the rest of the world or there’s something wrong with our criminal justice system. Which of those two possibilities do you believe is correct and why?
2) It costs California ‘s taxpayers more than $45,000 per year to keep one person in prison. That $45,000 would cover the state’s share of educating about 15 elementary school students. Do you believe this should be changed and why?
3) The Three Strikes Law results in numerous non-violent felons sentenced to life in prison. Numerous two-strike non-violent offenders also receive long prison terms. This costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year. What is your opinion of this situation, and what do you believe should be done about it, if anything?
4) Describe the qualities of a person you would appoint for the head of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)?
5) CDCR is, by its legal title, supposed to embody both punishment (Corrections) and Rehabilitation leading to the offender’s re-entry into society. Recent governors have over-ruled the vast majority of paroles granted after long study and extensive hearings by the state’s official parole board. What is your opinion of this practice and what changes, if any, would you support?