Clovis parents look to change California AB 109 prison realignment law

April 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A group of Clovis parents is out to change the prison realignment program, which shifts convicted felons from state prisons to already overflowing county jails.

Those local parents say it's putting California neighborhoods in danger.

Autumn, a Clovis mother of three has spent the past few weeks spreading the word, talking to neighbors and telling everyone who will listen about AB 109. She says, "I just want everybody to know that there are things we can do to help change this."

Autumn says the passage of the prison realignment bill has put violent offenders on the street. The state is required to reduce prison overcrowding, and says it's working.

But Autumn says, it sent people like Michael Anthony Wyatt into her neighborhood. He was arrested on the Buchanan High School Campus in March, but because of prison realignment, parole violations weren't enough to keep him in the overcrowded Fresno County jail. Weeks later, he was spotted in Clovis, where kids were hunting for Easter eggs.

Wyatt is a convicted felon who has been arrested at least two dozen times since last year, for crimes like sexual batter and committing a lewd act.

Autumn says she keeps Wyatt's mug shot nearby, to remind her children to call 911 if they see him. "I have a picture of Michael Wyatt, I don't have a picture of other criminals who are being released because there's no room for them in the county jail."

Sacramento based "Advocates for Public Safety" is working to change the legislation behind AB 109. The director Lynne Brown told Action News, "There are very serious, very violent people being let out being termed low risk offenders."

Brown has made it her goal to raise awareness in neighborhoods across California. "There are 500 felonies that were put in a penal code classification with AB109 the classification is referred to as 'the nons' -- the non serious, non violent, non sex offenses."

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says it "does not decide which crimes are serious or violent; those are defined by the California Penal Code.

Autumn says, while there are good things about the realignment program, she also thinks it needs adjustment. "My biggest fear is that we're naive about it the public is naive about it."

------

Clovis parents and the Advocates for Public Safety will discuss prison realignment at a meeting on Saturday, April 6th, at 4pm, at the American Ambulance Building, located at 292 Herndon Avenue, in Clovis.

On the Web:

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation response to prison realignment

Advocates for Public Safety


Load Comments