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Turning Chaos Into Calm at the Orange County Jail

I came across this article on the Orange County Sheriff Blog, written by David Whiting, a Columnist for The Orange County Register, about the Orange County Jail, in which he describes the vast variety of people arrested and waiting to be booked one evening.

The time span was from 6 pm to midnight. During those hours the “Sheriff’s deputies admitted 143 people, with a third of them being women.”  The description of some of these people paints a picture that tells you that anyone can be arrested, regardless of what you look like or where you come from.

Since the OC County Jail is such a large facility, turning chaos into calm is definitely a daily challenge, but somehow it all gets done. For some of those arrested, bail might be an option due to misdemeanor charges, but for others, they may be detained for much longer. Whatever the circumstances, I’d say this is a interesting place to be a fly on the wall. A movie in the making, not too far off from the cop shows on TV these days. This is a dose of reality that should make anyone think twice about getting into trouble with the law. 

To read some of the descriptions of those arrested that evening, and to get a good picture of the intake process at the OC County Jail, visit the two links below:

http://blog.ocsd.org/post/2011/07/18/Turning-Chaos-Into-Calm-at-the-Orange-County-Jail.aspx

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/deputies-308306-jail-one.html

Inmate walks away from work site…

Apparently, Eric Prader, 22, a realignment inmate, abandoned his Caltrans work assignment earlier this week by merely walking away. This incident poses a threat to the new realignment program that went into affect on October 1, 2011, citing that state prisons will now send non-violent, non-sex-related and non-serious offenders to county jails.

It is a bit unnerving to think that anyone can just walk away like that and there is no one paying attention to the prisoners they are responsible for.

A spokesperson for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department says Prater does not pose a serious threat to the community, but he was arrested for possession of a syringe and stolen property, along with auto theft. What’s to stop him from repeating these crimes now that he’s free? Or, committing even worse crimes because now there is a warrant out for him and he’s on the run. Pressure!

Attention all San Joaquin County residents, be on the look out for Eric Prater in your community!

Read more and see what he looks like…

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111013/A_NEWS02/110130317

The Seal Beach Salon Massacre

I am sorry to refer to this terrible tragedy as a “massacre”, but I don’t know what else to call it. What a sad, sad situation. Innocent people lost their lives because of a personal matter with one person in the salon. I feel so bad for the mothers, grandmothers, children, and spouses that lost their loved one on this painful day.

Custody battles, like so many other ‘control’ issues, can be so devastating when the person who seems to be losing the battle, loses control of their emotions and acts out their frustration, while innocent people seem to get hurt because they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Such is the case here.

In a way, this was a very selfish act because Scott Dekraai obviously never stopped to think about the impact this would have on his 7 year old son, who this was all about to begin with. This poor child has lost his mother and father to an emotional outburst that will scar him for the rest of his life. I only hope that this child gets some therapy and doesn’t blame himself for this horrific tragedy. That kind of guilt can destroy this poor boys life before it really begins.

Obviously, there will be no bail for Scott Dekraai, but perhaps a life, or several life sentences. This remains to be seen. But at least he’s not going anywhere for now.

Listening to the news this morning as the commentators talked with participants of the vigil held last night outside the salon, the victims of this massacre were all wonderful people…people who had a lust for life and shared it with those around them. I have come to learn that people, who lose their lives suddenly like this, are usually people with a charisma that draws you to them. They are people you want to be around because they make you feel good. For some reason, these people are taken from us suddenly, but they will live forever in our hearts, and will be our guides to help us through the pain and frustrations we encounter through our lives.

My thoughts and prayers are with those families who lost a loved one in this horrible tragedy. May you all find peace at some point. R.I.P.

Read and see more about this tragedy…

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/131824673.html

The California Bail Bond Industry and the AB 109 Ruling…

Just when we thought things were going smoothly, the government decides to throw a curve ball into the system. What a surprise! We are all too familiar with overcrowding in our jail facilities, particularly at the state level. Jails are busting at the seams and the cost to build new facilities is way over our budget limits because the California budget is so out of control. With the new AB 109 Ruling, things are about to change.

“Beginning, as of October 1, 2011, inmates from 33 California prisons, who are released on parole, will begin reporting to county probation officers rather than state parole agents. The new local authority over ‘post-release community supervision” will apply to those whose convictions were for non-serious, non-violent, non-sex-related” offenses. On the same date, newly convicted “non-non-non” offenders will be remitted to county custody – to jail, or to community programs or other sentencing alternatives – instead of being sent to state prison. And, newly accused defendants without outstanding warrants who need to be monitored until their trial dates may be required to wear electronic ankle bracelets in lieu of being incarcerated.”

What does this mean for our citizens, communities, and their safety? What does this mean for the Bail Bond Industry? What does this mean for the state of California? What does this mean??? It means we may have more to deal with than we are prepared for on all levels. We’ve seen the trickle-down effect with our upside down economy…companies with big layoffs, businesses closing their doors, unemployment at its highest level in decades, college grads unable to find work, let alone seasoned workers on all level. Now, with this AB109 Ruling, those released from custody will pay no consequences for their crimes and very possibly go on to commit other crimes.

Local communities will probably need to be on their guard even more than before. Can the local authorities handle the new influx of offenders, along with the current everyday crime?

From the Bail Bond Industries perspective, the “trickle-down effect” may not show itself immediately, but in the not so distant future, we could see the misdemeanors business, the bail bond industry’s bread and butter, so to speak, disappearing. Can you imagine the impact on bail bondsmen? These offenses are everyday occurrences and we may be cut off by defendants being released with no consequences for their actions. This is not just a slap on the hand, but something that can become very serious for our industry, which has been in existence since the 17th Century. Keep in mind that the bail bond industry does NOT cost taxpayers any money, but does protect the general public.

Another side to this overwhelming picture is the fact that structural programs and funds are in place to rehabilitate these inmates for the first year only. This means that whether they have an ankle bracelet on or not, they can still commit the same crimes and cause more harm to others, as well as themselves. Now, does this appear to be a win-win situation?

As for the effect on the State of California, this may turn out to be an even bigger disaster from a financial and moral perspective. No funds to rehab inmates, means no mental health therapy, no drug rehabilitation, no vocational training, no direction, no meaning or purpose to their lives, only total human destruction on every level. This will leave those released “unprepared for life as healthy, productive and contrite citizens, most likely to re-offend at an astonishing rate of 67.5%”. Maybe this should not totally be a government problem, but apparently, these inmates didn’t have the structure they needed growing up, so when can they get it and from whom and/or where?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time. I hope that there are systems in place that I am not aware of that will help control this inmate realignment program that’s about to unfold.

Has crime in Southern California gone down, or is it the number of arrests that have diminished?

For the last couple of years, the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. has been booking and releasing misdemeanors. Much of the time they are not even arresting misdemeanors, they are simply citing them in the field, similar to a speeding ticket, and letting them go on their own recognizance. So, while we think crime has gone down in this bad economy, we are really just seeing the reduced number of arrests because correctional facilities are so overcrowded.

With the enforcement of the AB109 – California’s Realignment of State Inmates, as of October 1, 2011, this movement is a major concern is for the public’s safety. With more defendants moving freely amongst us, the likelihood of them being repeat offenders is like a loaded gun just waiting for someone to pull the trigger.

Are there enough law enforcement personnel to be everywhere all the time? Are they likely to hire more people to fill this void? The answer is obvious, but how is the general public going to cope with this new problem? Do we all need to carry weapons for our own protection? Will we need to be looking over our shoulder everywhere we go? Are we going to have an uneasy feeling hanging over our heads all the time?

Life is tough enough these days that we don’t need the added stress. Everyday life, technology and evolution in general has grown and changed throughout the centuries, and they have managed to survive. If we apply the ‘bell curve’ today, we would see that there is reason to believe that this will all work itself out in the future. However, what will happen as we go through the actual process is unknown, even if there is theoretically a system in place. Murphy’s Law lingers over this situation and we are all waiting for the ball to drop, but we’d prefer that it not drop on us.

We have seen it all before, where the public takes the law into their own hands. This looks like a plan for total chaos and mayhem. Even the politicians see this situation as a BIG problem.

While it will take some time for the true effect of this situation to play itself out, discussions and concerns will be a topic of conversation for quite some time. Funds are available for the first year of this realignment program, so we won’t know how the program is really working until we reach that point. We can only hope that Governor Jerry Brown sees the bottom line effect on our society, and the lack of safety for the public and our communities as a negative, and he will rethink the release of these inmates before it’s too late.

If you have an opinion, I’d like to hear about it.

Cindi Santana, South East High Student, Allegedly Stabbed to Death by Ex-Boyfriend Abraham Lopez; Mom Had Warned LAUSD

This is a sad case about young love and a mother’s concern for her daughter.

It’s not unusual for parents to take a position when it comes to the friends our children choose, especially during their high school years. These are such trying times for kids with peer pressure, dating and the desire to spread their wings and be independent. They are caught between being children and adults, with raging hormones, and the need to explore and experiment. It’s a cycle that every generation goes through, but doesn’t always end with the death of a beautiful young girl.

In this case, the mother of Cindi Santana was not happy with  her daughter’s boyfriend, Abraham Lopez, and didn’t want her to see him anymore. This obviously made Lopez angry toward Cindi’s mom, and so he threatened to harm the family, as well as his girlfriend.  Apparently, the mother warned the school authorities that there could be a problem with Lopez due to the situation and threats she received, but it apparently went to deaf ears. And, even though there were other kids that tried to stop the stabbing, Lopez’s anger took total control ending in the fatal stabbing of Ms. Santana.

Now Lopez in in Jail with a $1.28 million bail on his head. And, just “Three days before the stabbing, he’d been released on $50,000 bail after being arrested on Sept. 25 for making a criminal threat against Santana.”

It is sad to think that this incident could have been prevented if the school took these threats seriously. And even sadder is the fact that these incidents are becoming more common in high schools across the county.

What is happening to our society and our young children? For many, their lives are over before they really begin. What can we do to help the situation? There seems to be a great deal of anger among many teenagers these days. Do you have any thoughts about this? If so, I’d like to hear about them.

Read more about this tragic story…
http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/10/cindi_santana_south_east_high_stabbed_abraham_lopez.php