The walkway leading up to the state Capitol is lined with pictures of people who have been murdered…Stacie Pike came in from Madera near Fresno. Her 18-year-old daughter Krista-Rae was beaten to death two years ago. Stacie says there’s some comfort in the gathering.
“Knowing that we’re not alone in this, but then in another way, it’s heartbreaking to see so many of the children and so many people going through the same thing…”
The event is part of the National Victims Rights week. The group Crime Victims United of California recently sued the state over its plan to free thousands of prison inmates this year as a budget cutting measure. Nina Salarno Ashford is with the group. She says the plan is in violation of the initiative approved by voters in 2008, known as Marsy’s Law that expanded victim’s rights in California.
“We have no rehabilitation in prison so now we have people coming out who are not rehabilitated and violent.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says it’s not a blanket early release program. The agency says instead it allows eligible inmates—not convicted of violent crimes-- to earn credits by participating in programs to cut short their original sentences. Ashford says the lawsuit and a bill aimed at strengthening penalties for child predators are among her group’s top priorities this year.