SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Former California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado spoke with reporters in front of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Dept. Foster Road station in Santa Maria to explain why he's traveling across the state speaking out against AB 109, the state prison realignment and early release program.
"The communities that are feeling the brunt (of early prison release) are the African American communities and Latino communities", Maldonado said, "it seems like no one is standing up and saying enough, well I'm here to say enough."
Maldonado claims there's been a sharp increase in burglaries and other crime across the state since Governor Jerry Brown began releasing non-violent felons who qualify for the program from overcrowded prisons to counties with overcrowded jails.
"There's the kicker that people don't know today", Maldonado told reporters, "AB 109 only looks at the last offense, so you could be a two striker with a huge rap sheet but they only look at the last offense."
Maldonado told reporters he's part of a statewide effort to repeal AB 109.
Maldonado says he's part of a statewide committee of crime victims, including committee co-chair Marc Klaas who's daughter Polly Klaas was abducted and killed in October 1993, that will begin drafting the ballot initiative.
"If you're going to commit the crime your are going to serve the time", Maldonado said, "that's why we have prisons, you go to prison, not jail, when you commit a heinous crime, but under Governor Brown's early release program you serve less time, and it has to end and the only way to do that is through the initiative process."
Maldonado says his committee will raise enough money and support to have the "Repeal AB 109" initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
The Santa Maria Republican announced earlier this year he's considering running for Governor to challenge the incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown, but Maldonado has yet to officially announce his candidacy.
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