Transcript: Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety’s public comments opposing the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard as CDCR Secretary – June 19, 2013

Partial transcript of public comments by David Warren, a representative of Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety, opposing the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at a hearing before the California Senate Rules Committee on June 19, 2013:

My name is David Warren and I’m appearing on behalf of Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety.

As much as I have a great deal of respect for the President Pro-Tem, I do disagree on one point he made today. We agree on 99% of things but one that I find disturbing is as lawyers we’re taught that the Supreme Court is the law of the land, and regretfully the Supreme Court – or depending on your view – has ruled on our issues of prison overcrowding. And a great deal of time has been directed against that. I believe it’s to the detriment of the state and everyone else.

…My biggest concern as a former chaplain and as a person that deals with continuing problems with inmates and inmate families is that this committee is setting a very bad precedent. Although I am a strong believer in civil disobedience…when a government official refuses to follow the law – whether we agree with it or not – it is problematic.

It is of concern that if this committee and then the State Senate confirms the nomination, it is confirming the negative and that is a bad thing because inmates in state prison pick up on that stuff. And it’s already difficult enough for the correctional staff, the chaplains and the counselors to work with inmates when they think perhaps they can slide by the rules. But if they come to believe they don’t have to follow the rules as set by the precedent by the legislature, we’re in deep trouble.

There are a number of issues that are of concern that have slipped by because of the focus on AB 109 and opposing the Supreme Court’s opinions. The politics are one thing; the law is another. And as I see programs failing because of a lack of attention, especially in the women’s areas, especially in the religious areas which are right now the main rehabilitation programs working because the men are slipping badly. Hopefully, that will change shortly. It is not good for the state. It is not good for the legislature, and it is not good for anybody inside a prison.

For that reason, I would request that instead of confirming today, that we await the hearings that are coming up in the immediate, near future to determine whether or not there is a contempt citation issued. Because if there is, it calls into question the decisions that this committee may make. Thank you very much.

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