Fudging on SB91
Proponents of the infamous Senate Bill 91, a controversial law blamed for the rising crime across Alaska, have stepped over the line and appear to have been caught red-handed by Rep. David Eastman.
The Alaska Criminal Justice Commission — which helped craft SB91 — issued a report late last year that the number of people re-arrested for supervision violations of probation or parole conditions is down and revocations mostly were for technical violations, not new crimes.
That glowing report is proof, SB91 supporters say, the contentious law is working. Ordinary Alaskans facing a rising tide of crime – major and minor – wonder how that can true.
On his website, Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, says the state has been fudging for some time.
“In an email sent on January 11, 2017, Department of Corrections employees were instructed not to charge parolees for violating state, federal and local laws. Doing so “is outside the intent of SB 91” according to the directive sent to state employees,” Eastman wrote.
“When parolees aren’t charged with breaking the law, they don’t go back to prison, and SB91’s numbers on repeat offenders look really good. But they aren’t. Alaskans are hurting today because criminals have been given a free pass.”
The reason slapping evil-doers back into prison is frowned upon by SB91’ s backers is because the main focus of the law appears to be on saving money – not protecting Alaskans from crime. Criminals too often are let free to save reduce incarceration costs. In effect, instead of the state paying to imprison them, we all get to pay for their misdeeds.0
The idea initially was to provide jobs training, counseling and other services to inmates on release so they could set their lives straight. The money for all that never materialized and when many criminals were released, in what turned out to be a judicial revolving door, they went back to doing what they do.
We find the notion of ignoring crime to pad the numbers in support of SB91 on the far side of reprehensible. How are we to trust state officials who go along with such nonsense?
Alaskans know the truth: SB91 was, and is, a dismal failure.