Reader Input: GPS monitors: Is it really that bad?

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State Senator Jim Nielsen’s March 20 article on GPS monitoring paints a dire picture of the criminal justice system in California (“Penalties lacking for sex offenders who remove their GPS devices,” Another View).
Nielsen places blame squarely on the AB 109 Criminal Justice Realignment, which sentences many minor felons to county jail instead of prison. Nielsen gives all sorts of anecdotal evidence to illustrate his position, but I notice that he does not give any hard data. Is the situation really as bad as he describes? I doubt it. But hey, scary crime talk wins votes.
If there’s a problem with GPS monitors being removed, the legislature should fix it – but there’s no need to make political hay from the issue.
If there are other problems with the realignment effort, fix them, too. That’s what we pay our legislators to do. But a host of legislators are proposing anti-realignment measures that seem to be more directed toward their own political advancement, not crime control.
Our AB 109 realignment needs to be studied closely, with comprehensive and accurate data collection. Then, if repairs are to be made to the program, those repairs should be effective, evidence-based measures that really work.
We waste far too much money on politically-based sentencing policies that keep inmates in prison for longer periods but do nothing to prepare inmates for re-entry into society. We just can’t keep pouring our tax dollars into more and more incarceration. It’s a bottomless pit.
Joe Offer, Applegate, vice president, Placer People of Faith Together