You Won’t Believe the Truth From Behind the Bars

You Won’t Believe the Truth From Behind the Bars

Prisons in general seem to have a reputation, but California prisons seem to have some of the worst. However, like most hot topics, people aren’t always completely informed about the problem. People question the integrity of the jail and prison systems. Understanding the prison system in California is the first step in figuring out how to go about possibly fixing any issues.

Most prisoners in California are U.S. citizens. According to the Public Policy of California (PPIC) 81% of prisoners are U.S. citizens, and only 19% are foreign nationalities. 5% of the 19% are from Mexico. This shows that criminals don’t all come from our neighboring countries. This statistic shows that as Americans, we tend to have problems with following the laws of the land.

California’s prison population is big but it’s not the worst. California’s prison population in 2006 was 163,000 inmates. Ten years later the total prison population in California as of 2016 has increased to 1,505,400 according the Bureau of Justice Department. However, this places California 18th in the nation with some of the lowest incarceration rates. It’s expected to see a decrease in prison population as laws continue to change in California.

The incarceration statistics continue to be startling. The age of prisoners is growing as well. Meaning there are more, older prisoners (50 or older) in prison. Not only are they getting older, they’re needing more help medically. In 2016, 30% of prisoners required mental health services. They’re older and are repeat offenders, meaning that they are leaving prison and then being recommitted for more crimes. No one is ever really leaving the system.

California prison statistics aren’t common knowledge. Most people don’t think to look at the stats in regards to prisons because it doesn’t typically affect their lives. Looking at the facts is important for a person to understand what is going on in the world. By having the facts, a person will be able to make informed and educated decisions that could go on to make the world a better place.

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Did You Know This about Carpool Lanes?

Did You Know This about Carpool Lanes?

If you have ever driven on a California freeway, you’ve probably seen a carpool lane before. More recently, they have been renamed to HOV lanes, which stands for High Occupancy Vehicle Lane. These are lanes that are only accessible by vehicles that have more than one occupant in the vehicle. The idea is that by offering a clear lane for only certain vehicles, more people will be encouraged to rideshare and therefore reduce the amount of traffic on the road.

While carpool lanes may parallel and resemble other lanes on the road, they are viewed as different. They have different sets of rules to ensure that they are used properly and effectively. Breaking these rules can get a person pulled over and issued a traffic violation ticket.

One rule that some people do not realize, is that not all carpool lanes are active 24/7. Some lanes are only considered carpool lanes at set times for certain days of the week. These times usually coincide with peak traffic conditions and are often posted on the signs near the lane itself. This means that anyone can drive through the lane when it isn’t during the posted time, but during those times, only vehicles with more than one occupant can use the lane.

When a driver violates the rules of carpool line, they can face a minimum fine of $490 dollars. Repeat offenders will likely face higher fines. Depending on the location, there can also be additional fees if the local city has elected add additional fees in an effort to reduce carpool lane abuse.

Nobody likes dealing with traffic and California seems to have more than its fair share. This isn’t surprising considering that California is the most populated state in the country. However, this is not an excuse to misuse the carpool lane. If a driver wants to be able to use the carpool lane on their way to and from work, then they should find someone to rideshare with. Otherwise they could faces some hefty fines.

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The New California Law No One Saw Coming

The New California Law No One Saw Coming

Perhaps one of the more disheartening aspects of law-making is how some laws come into effect. With very little recognition, a new law was recently signed into effect that can, and likely will, change the effectiveness of law enforcement. Assembly Bill 1810 was recently signed into law as a part of California’s new budget. However, this law has very little to do with budgeting.

AB 1810 is supposed to be a health bill, but has more prominence in the law enforcement sector. Under this new law, just about anyone accused a crime, regardless of how serious, could claim a mental health issue and ask to be placed on a two year diversion plan. In other words, a person could say they only committed a crime because they have a problem and then the judge would put him or her into a two year course to correct whatever problem the person claims to have. Upon completion of the course, the person’s record would be sealed, making it as if the crime never happened.

The wording of the bill is very vague, and allows for just about anyone to claim some mental health issue. It is easy to see how this can very easily be used and manipulated to get people out of being punished for a crime. What’s worse, is how little attention this big change in law got. It spent less a week going through Sacramento before being approved by both houses and sent to the Governor for final signature. That is not a lot of time to truly evaluate something this substantial.

Of course, there are some people out there who need a program like this. Something like this can get them the help that they desperately need. Unfortunately, the way the bill is worded, it is very easy for someone to take advantage of this change in procedures, and use it to avoid any real punishment altogether.

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Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

If you have been paying attention to politics this year in the state of California, you know that we voters have some pretty big decisions to make come November. One of the biggest measures on the ballot this year is whether we want to begin looking at dividing California into three separate states.

This is a very big deal for every Californian, and as such, it is receiving a lot of attention. In fact, a group of people is now trying to block the measure from being added to the November ballot. An environmentalist group, The Planning and Conservation League, sponsored the filing at the California Supreme Court.

The argument against Prop 9 is that it is too big of a decision to give to the people of California. Prop 9 claims that it will only amend the state Constitution, however its critics say that the measure will completely revise the state Constitution. This is something that the California Supreme Court has regularly sided against.

Splitting up the state of California is a very big deal, and this isn’t the first time someone has tried to do this. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Prop 9’s sponsor tried to split up the state. Tim Draper tried to split California into 6 states back in 2014, but the measure ultimately failed.

California is a pretty big state, and the thought of splitting it up is terrifying for many people. However, splitting up the state is not as simple as voting to do so. Even if Californians approve the measure, it would still need to be approved by the state senate and House of Representatives. From there, it would then go to Congress in Washington DC for final approval, which would be unlikely. A state hasn’t been split since West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1863.

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Smoking Marijuana While Driving

Smoking Marijuana While Driving

While the rest of the country may be debating what to do about cannabis, Californians have already decided. California recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. We followed several other states like Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. While we weren’t the first ones to legalize weed recreationally, we are still one of the eight states that allows it recreationally. However, like with alcohol and cigarettes, there are laws that have to be followed.

Arguably the most important place to follow the law is behind the wheel. When a person steps behind the wheel of a vehicle they greatly increase the chances of causing harm to someone. Vehicle related deaths are some of the highest in the nation.

Before California allowed the sale of recreational marijuana, they passed several laws in anticipation. In particular they passed a law in regards to driving while smoking. According to this law, written by Sen. Jerry Hill, if a person is caught smoking marijuana while operating a vehicle, or while riding in a vehicle, they can be subjected to a violation. The violation will include a fine of $70.

This really isn’t a new law for us. It’s already illegal to drive while intoxicated. Obtaining a DUI isn’t because you were drunk, it just means you were under the influence of some kind of substance. Along with not being intoxicated while driving, you cannot have an open container of cannabis in your vehicle. This is similar to you not being allowed to have an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Since we are one of the few states that have legalized the use of marijuana recreationally, we have to be the role model for other states in the future. As time continues, more studies will be released in regards to the use of marijuana, which will broaden our understanding of the subject as a whole. Until then, exercise caution, and just follow the law.

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Don’t Be Carefree This Summer

Don’t Be Carefree This Summer

It is summertime in California, which means singing along to your favorite tunes and hanging out with friends. All year long you’ve been waiting to let go, go on vacation, and bring out your favorite summer playlist. You’ve got your swimsuit on, and the car packed for the beach. You’re all set, right? Wrong. You’ve forgotten to think about your safety, and the safety of those around you.

Even though you want to be carefree this summer, you still need to take the necessary steps to be safe. Before heading out anywhere alone, notify a family member, or close friend of your plans. It may seem ridiculous, but if something were to happen to you while you were alone, no one would know. Notifying someone of your plans allows them to know where you are, and to worry about you if they don’t hear back from you at some point. Traveling alone this summer can be a freeing experience, but can turn into a criminal mystery real quick if no one knows you plans.

If you’re traveling with friends this summer, talk about your plans. If you all plan on spending the night before drinking the night away, it’s best to set up an alternative way home, instead of driving yourselves. Knowing ahead of time that you plan on taking a taxi home will help eliminate the drama of last minute changes of plans. It also gives your group of friends the peace of mind of who is the designated driver. Most importantly, it doesn’t allow any drunk driving to occur.

Summer is all about exploring, but don’t surround yourself with strangers. Going to a party alone with strangers is a recipe for disaster. Party settings are usually full of drinking, smoking, and people making bad decisions. Don’t let yourself be in that kind of situation. Bringing a friend that you know to a party will bring you some peace of mind. If things don’t go well at the party, you’ll have a familiar face that you know you can count on.

Summer is the best time to cut loose and be a little crazy. However, you still need to be safe, and accountable for your actions. You can still have a carefree summer, just take a few small steps to remain safe. These small steps could make the difference between life and death. That may seem too serious for the summertime, but situations can turn deadly if no one took the necessary precautionary steps.

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How Many Guns Did He Have?

How Many Guns Did He Have?

California has some of the strictest guns laws within the United States. While this is frustrating for some, it is meant to help keep people safe. There are many people out there who should not own a gun or any other sort of weapon. That is why people are now required to pass a background check before purchasing a gun.

Unfortunately, despite all of these laws, guns still fall into the wrong hands. Take for instance a southern California resident who was recently arrested for own too many guns. Manuel Fernandez, a 60-year-old Agua Dulce resident, was recently arrested for having over 500 different guns in his home. That is a ridiculously large number of weapons. The only people who need that many guns are army suppliers and video game characters with comically large backpacks.

Aside from owning far too many weapons, the man was also a convicted felon. In case you weren’t aware, it is illegal in California for a felon to own any firearms. This makes the insane crime even worse. Fernandez was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for illegally possessing an assault rifle.

This is a perfect example of why some people should not be allowed to purchase firearms. This is why many of the California gun laws exist. However, this does bring up the question of how did this man acquire so many weapons? After all, over 500 is an absurd amount of guns for a single person.

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3 Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

3 Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

It’s a situation no one ever wants to be in, but it’s one that you may face in your lifetime.

Picture this: You’ve just been arrested, you’ve been booked and given a bail amount, and you’ve called someone for assistance. Now, you sit and wait in a holding cell while a loved one contacts a bail agent to help obtain your freedom. However, there’s a problem. The bail agency cannot issue a bond because, after running a credit report, their credit score isn’t high enough.

This is a serious problem because now you’re forced to sit in jail and wait until your court appearance. However, this is an avoidable problem. The answer is simple – keep your credit score up so that you never have to worry about it being too low to be approved. But what exactly is a good credit score? There is no right answer, however, according to ExperianExperian a credit score can range between 300 and 850. See below for an in-depth look at the credit score breakdown, courtesy of Experian.

In order to help ensure you and your loved ones have a good enough credit score to be approved for a bail bond, a home, or anything in between, we’ve compiled a list of three steps you can take starting today.

• Pay your bills on time – According to Credit Karma, one of the most important things lenders care about is the likelihood you are going to pay them back. This is determined through your history of paying your bills on time. By paying all of your bills on time you show lenders that you’re reliable and will uphold your end of the bargain.
• Pay off your debt – In order to grant you a loan, lenders want to ensure that you have enough room in your monthly expenses to be able to afford another bill. Be sure to pay down your current debt as quickly as possible so you have room for unexpected necessities.
• Don’t open too many credit cards at the same time – When you open a new line of credit, it creates a “hard line” on your credit report which stays there for two years. This could create a negative effect on your credit report.

 

If you’re looking to increase your credit score, it’s important to know what your score is. There are a lot of free websites that will allow you to check it for free, utilize them. Keep in mind that improving your credit score takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll want to ensure that you follow these three tips every month and develop good financial habits.

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Do You Know about These Firework Laws in California?

Do You Know about These Firework Laws in California?

Whenever anyone mentions the Fourth of July, you can bet that everyone’s first thought is fireworks. These colorful little explosives go hand in hand with the holiday.in fact, this is so true that you can’t buy most fireworks in California unless the holiday is just around the corner. While this may be inconvenient for some people, this is actually required by law within the state of California.

California has several laws regarding fireworks. Firstly, fireworks are divided into two categories within the state, they can either be “Dangerous” or “Safe and Sane” fireworks. Dangerous fireworks are what are seen at professional firework displays. Only people with special display licenses are allowed to set off dangerous fireworks within the state of California.

One of the most prominent laws regarding safe and sane fireworks, is that they can only be sold from noon on June 28th to noon on July 6th. Anyone can set off safe and sane fireworks, provided they are allowed to within their city or district. The problem there being that many places have banned people from setting off safe and sane fireworks on their own.

The restrictions set on fireworks are largely done to try and prevent any fires from starting. As most Californians know, wildfires are pretty common out here, which is why fireworks are banned in rural areas where a stray spark could set something ablaze. Due to their high fire risk, all safe and sane fireworks have to be approved by the State Fire Marshall.

The Fourth of July and fireworks are a lot of fun, however it is important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous when handled improperly. That is why, sometimes it is best to simply go to a professional show. Doing that will give you a much bigger show. No matter what you decide, just be sure to have a fun and safe Independence Day.

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Vandalism in California

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Many people know what vandalism is. We hear about it, and see it, all of the time. Vandalism is taken very seriously in California. Getting caught vandalizing someone’s property can land a person in jail with hefty fines. While many people think they know what constitutes as vandalism, there are a few acts which fall into that category that people are unaware of.

Vandalism is the classified as the act of maliciously destroying or damaging someone else’s property.

Here is a quick list of acts that qualify as vandalism in the state of California:

  • Writing or painting on something that does not belong to you. This can even include writing your name in the wet cement of a city sidewalk.
  • Damaging a piece of property such as a window on a house or car. This can include breaking something of your significant other’s while fighting.
  • Destroying something beyond the point of repair.

If a person does one of these 3 things, he or she has committed an act of vandalism. If caught by law enforcement, this person can face a fine and possible jail time. The severity of the punishment often depends on how much damage was caused by the act. If the damage amounts to less than $400, than the crime is considered a misdemeanor. The accused person could face, at max, 1 year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.

If the damage total is greater than $400, the accused could face anywhere from 1 to 3 years in prison. On top of that, they could face a fine of $10,000, or more. The size of the fine will vary based on how bad the damage is.

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