The League of Women Voters of Ventura County supports measures to achieve a more effective corrections system. (1971-74, updated 1977-78 and 1989)
1992 Sponsored three “Meet Your Judges” public forums.
Social Policy Position
Specifics of Position
1. Appropriate sentencing.
a) Protection and safety of the public
Removal of dangerous offenders from the community
Use of incarceration, loss of privilege, etc., as a punishment when appropriate
Use of the least restrictive confinement programs which are in keeping with safety in order to minimize cost to taxpayer
b) Protection and equal consideration of defendant/offenders’ basic needs and rights regardless of age, sex, or race.*
2. Rehabilitation and resocialization to achieve a lower recidivism rate.
a) Use of evaluation and diagnostic programs in connection with rehabilitation programs
b) Assistance to offenders to maintain community and family ties, and assisting reintegration into community (probation, employment, referral to rehabilitation programs, etc.).
c) Continued development and expansion of alternatives to jail such as work furlough, work release (community service projects, home detention, electronic surveillance, and similar programs to maximize the use of tax dollars).
d) Continued development of diversion treatment programs for offenders such as substance abusers (drug and alcohol), the mentally ill, and those accused of domestic violence/abuse.
3. Accountability on the part of the offender to the victim and society by compulsory restitution of money and/or community service.
4. Programs to educate the public as to its responsibilities in the reduction of crime.
5. Professionalism in the corrections system:
a) Well-trained, adequately compensated staffing.
b) Interagency cooperation and adequate funding of criminal justice programs, equipment, and facilities
c) Scientific research regarding the corrections process with emphasis on professional statistics (jail population, sentencing, recidivism rate, rehabilitation programs, cost- effectiveness).
d) Standardized record keeping
Impetus for the adoption of a local study (1971) on the Administration of Criminal Justice in Ventura County was the designation of Ventura County by the State of California as the site of a criminal justice laboratory.
The following year (1972) the league adopted a corrections position. In 1977-78 members adopted an “Update of the Ventura County Corrections Facilities for Adult Prisoners,” and, in 1989, another update on the corrections position.
Corrections has been defined as the complex of state, local and private agencies and institutions which deal with offenders. It includes the official court, probation, parole, jail and prison authorities as well as quasi-official and private institutions for community treatment. Authorities in the field hold that the physical plant has a great influence upon correction programs.
Over the years, members have continued to believe in the need to identify and remove dangerous offenders from the community, in the need for rehabilitative programs (academic and vocational education, counseling, mental health services, half-way houses) and in the need for alternatives to incarceration (work furlough, community service projects, home detention, electronic surveillance, etc.). Much of the methodology included in the early position has been incorporated into present day philosophy of and practice by the county’s correction system.
New specifics of the position were included as a result of the 1989 update because League members felt that more emphasis should be directed to the plight of the victim and accountability on the part the offender and because types of crime had changed over the years. The percentage of drug/alcohol related offenses had increased, more females were in the corrections system, more crime was white collar and gang related, also more violent.
*The LWV of the United States at its national convention amended its Social Policy Position to include “all persons, regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability. (June, 1992)