The Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek
Leno Interview Highlights
Leno on the Percentage of General Fund Spending on Corrections:
"One of the things I looked into upon my arrival [in Sacramento in 2003] was the percentage of general fund spending on the Department of Corrections... I came to learn that California spent a greater percentage of general funds on corrections than any other state in the country -- at the time we were 5.3%... We are now pushing 11% -- we have doubled the percentage we are spending of our general fund on corrections... If we don't really contain this we could hit 15%... What are we doing?"
Leno on Politicians' Fear of Being Labeled "Soft on Crime":
"The politics of the issues we are talking about are so highly charged that legislators are very cautious to support anything that they think could be in any way twisted or misconstrued in their next primary election, not even general election, because of course the fear is that one would be labeled as 'soft on crime.' . We have got to thoughtfully craft some public policy, attempt to step outside ourselves and think for the better of the state and not just for our own next re-election."
Leno on the Need for a Sentencing Commission:
"The argument against the sentencing commission ... is that it abrogates our elected responsibility to protect the people of California to an unelected, unaccountable commission. But that is not true. Because the commission whatever they decide we could overturn at any moment by a simply majority vote... It's just letting this independent commission, without all of the politics driving them, give us a more thoughtful read... The goal is safer communities and less crime. But if we're scatterbrained about it we're not going to be able to do that."
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