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    Tuesday
    Mar222011

    A Constitutional Amendment Proposal

    CALIFORNIA CLEMENCY BOARDS

    1. Repeal the authority of the governor’s power to grant clemency and any sentencing commutations in the State of California.

    2. Adopt a new law for clemency protocol as the State's standard practice known as the California Clemency Boards by its inventor Allen Jones. This new law would supersede all known and unknown laws in the State of California dealing with clemency and sentencing commutation.

    Under this new clemency law, a new clemency board shall be created to handle all requests for clemency, commutations and compassionate prisoner releases in California. At least one county clemency board shall be established in every county in the State of California to handle considerations for clemency, commutation and compassionate releases due to possible injustice on the part of the State, including prison overcrowding.
     
    Five citizens randomly selected using voter or jury pool information and reside in the county where the inmate was convicted will judge cases only from that same county. If the citizens agree to sit on a clemency board for up to one week, they will be paid for their services the sum of $100.00 a day. Service is not mandatory. Board members will also be pre screened before sitting on any panel. The board members will review inmate request for early release, reduction of sentence and or clemency. While in session, they may review more than one request for that week’s session.
     
    Private Citizens, prisoner rights groups and professionals in the field may also petition the board on behalf of an inmate. The citizens of the California Clemency Board will have the power to release any qualified prisoner (once every seven years per individual) reduce his or her sentence. Members of the board can also use their common sense in viewing respected investigative journalism such as “60 Minutes”, “20/20” etc. in granting clemency to an inmate. They may also give a citizen reprimand with a granted release attached to serious consequences. Member of the board can choose to take no action if they feel the prisoner was treated in a satisfactory manner by the prison system or judicial process. An inmate can apply for a one-time appeal if he/she has been denied release. However, the appeal will take place in another county, also randomly selected from the 56 other counties of California.
     
    The California Clemency Board will also have the power to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons. This act includes the granting of a State of California pardon to former felons who have turned into pillars of their communities with a yet to be determined consecutive years of no criminal activity in any state of the United States.

    Release of nonviolent prisoners under established guidelines when prison overcrowding is at unsafe levels will prevent prison overcrowding permanently.

    Any county who receives a clemency released prisoner shall also receive from the prison budget the sum of $8,000.00 per release for rehabilitation/reentry services. The county must have State approved rehabilitation services in place to receive these prison budget funds. And the released inmate must register with the county rehab within 30 days of release to be eligible for assistance.

    3. Create a State elected administrator to handle the financial responsibilities of the board, ensure that prisoner request are delivered to the county level in a timely manner and make rulings on fairness or fraud in the clemency board. The first administrator appointed shall by law, be the inventor at no pay to establish California Clemency Boards.

    THE CITIZENS OF THE CALIFORNIA CLEMENCY BOARD AND NOT THE ELECTED OFFICIAL WILL HAVE THE FINAL SAY ON CLEMENCY. 

    Special note:

    California Clemency Boards is not a get out of jail free card for those bent on committing crime and has many safe guards to prevent abuse of this new clemency process.

    Wednesday
    Mar162011

    California Clemency Boards

    California Clemency Boards is currently a pie in the sky idea that I created to address the issues of injustice in the California prison system. This includes but is not limited to prison overcrowding. The best feature is that it eliminates prison overcrowding permanently, saving billion without risking public safety.

    California Clemency Boards could be described as being a jury nulification. This would make it very dificult for overzealous prosecutions. It also contains chcks and balances against prison officials. Proven injustice on the part of the state, COULD LEAD TO THE RELEASE OF A PRISONER.

    California Clemency, as I like to call it, is a 21st century clenemcy system that offers another opportunity to those who have done wrong and deserve to be given another chance in society, by the people of society. In addition, it is designed to help gain the release of innocent prisoners without having to navigate through the current appeals process, which can take years.

    I claim that releasing nonviolent and non-serious offenders can be done safely. If we follow up a release, with proper rehabilitation and incentives, like an official pardon for those who have not returned to any prison of the United States for a certain amount of time. We could greatly reduce the current 70% recidivism in the state of California. 

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-11-04/bay-area/24811645_1_paroled-secretary-matthew-cate-prison

    California Clemency streamlines the release process for those who are proven factually innocent before a board and not a court which can take years of appeals.

    California Clemency has many benefits. Listed below are a few, however, no prisoner release program will work without a strong rehabilitation program.

    1. By a constitutional amendment, taking clemency powers from the governor, judges and the "3 Strikes law" and giving new clemency power to a county board of average citizens. 

    2. Save taxpayers of the State of California billions in incarceration cost.

    3. Permanently eliminate prison overcrowding by monitoring prison levels and releasing nonviolent prisoners who qualify early to prevent unsafe prison population levels. 

    4. Make the prison and parole system more effective in concentrating on the serious and violent offenders.  

    5. Cause prosecutors to think twice before using California “Three Strikes Law” on minor offenses with the knowledge that the convicted can take his or her case to a clemency board in their county. 

    6. Offer hope to those who have been wrongly convicted without going through the many years and layers of appeals. 

    7. Streamline the current humanitarian release program for terminally ill prisoners.

    8. California Clemency can be modified for federal use and once congress see its success I expect it to reluctanly have a federal clemency system.