Don't blame DOC for Clemmons' early releaseon May 18, 2012 @ 8:06 am (Updated: 10:38 am - 5/18/12 )
LaTanya Clemmons, 37, helped the getaway driver Darcus Allen avoid arrest. She was sentenced to five years.
Lindquist believes in time off for good behavior, but a 50 percent reduction makes no sense to him. "A sentence of five years ought to be five years or something close to that," he said. "I understand giving some time off for good behavior, but 50 percent off is absurd."
Before you turn your outrage toward the Department of Corrections for allowing this to happen, you must realize the DOC's hands are tied.
It's state law: The legislature passed a bill in 2003 that upped the amount of time a criminal could take off for good behavior. It increased from 33 percent to 50 percent.
Democratic State Senator Jim Hargrove was the prime sponsor of the bill. Speaking on the Senate floor then, Senator Hargrove told those gathered, "I think the way this bill is put-together now a typical reduction in sentence for one of these minor offenders would be two-to-three months, hardly significant from a public safety point of view."
The bill also cut the amount of good time a violent or sex offender could get, and the reason the Legislature decided to take this up was over money. Lawmakers were looking for ways to trim corrections costs.
"I think what we've done here," Senator Hargrove said in 2003, "is we have taken an opportunity to look at saving a little bit of money but also I think in balance increasing public safety for the people of the state."
Republican Senator Val Stevens also supported the bill during the 2003. "I believe that even if we didn't have this budget-crunch time that this would be the proper way to re-arrange the way that we are sending people to prison and the way that we are letting them come out of prison."
Because LaTanya Clemmons had no record and followed all the rules in prison, she will get out in July after just 2 and a half years of her five-year sentence.
The time off provision went away July 1, 2010 under the law that passed in 2003. Clemmons squeezed-in just before that deadline. She was sentenced just 13 days before.
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