FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – The District Attorney of Fresno County called on Gov. Newsom to do his job Wednesday, in a public critique of his management of state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DA Lisa Smittcamp’s comments came ahead of a press conference including local and federal law enforcement agencies, describing efforts to combat Fresno’s recent surge in violent crime.
“Before we talk about what we’re doing, I’d like to talk about how we got here,” began Smittcamp. “And these comments I’m about to make are mine and mine alone.”
The District Attorney described the challenges facing law enforcement in Fresno County, describing the difficulties that were faced immediately before the coronavirus pandemic – and how decisions in Sacramento to close state prisons are impacting the crime rate in the Central Valley.
“[Gov. Newsom] claims that declining prison populations is why he’s doing this – and he applauds himself and his criminal justice reformers for bringing the numbers down. While I’m not an opponent of criminal justice reform, I am an opponent of misinformation and lies.”
Smittcamp says the reason for declining prison populations is because violent criminals are being let out on parole, with no thought to the victims of the crime of the nature of the original offense.
Meanwhile, Smittcamps says, Fresno County’s courts and jail system continue to work – but is unable to transfer offenders to state facilities.
“The shutdown of reception of inmates from local jails is the governor’s attempt at claiming that he’s protecting inmates, yet it is just another example of poor management on the state level,” said Smittcamp.
“Why is this relevant to why we are here today? It is relevant because we are lacking bed space to house local criminals who are shooting up our cities and killing our children and each other.”
Smittcamp claimed that Gov. Newsom is ignoring the drug-addicted people in California’s cities – but instead paying attention to how to protect inmates in prison.
“So I just said it,” declared Smittcamp, “Governor: open up the prisons. Do your job. Manage.”
YourCentralValley.com has reached out to the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom for a response.