Crime Victims Awareness Week March Held in Capitol
Apr. 23, 2007 (KABC) -- Don't forget the victims of violent crimes. That was the message from Monday's march and rally at the State Capitol marking National Crime Victims Awareness Week, and the focus was the consequences of prison overcrowding.
It's a club none of these grieving family members asked to be in. They all lost someone to a senseless crime.
"They shot him point blank in the chest," said grieving mother Barbara Ramirez. "He died instantly in the arms of his oldest brother."
Those who come every year to the rally can't help but notice a disturbing trend.
"The victims are getting younger and younger," said Loretta X. "And the families are getting younger and younger. More children have lost their fathers and mothers this year."
Though the State Attorney General's Office says violent crime in California has decreased for the 13th consecutive year, these survivors are worried about what's going on in Sacramento.
A federal judge is threatening to release inmates early because of severe overcrowding in prisons.
Proposed parole changes would return fewer offenders to prison on technical violations.
And one lawmaker wants to abolish life without parole sentences for youth offenders.
"We're not saying they're going to get out. We're saying if they demonstrated the appropriate behavior, remediation and rehabilitation, they should at least be considered for parole," says State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).
The thought of her daughter's 17-year-old accused killer being paroled one day makes one mother shudder.
"I just don't understand how they're letting that happen," Danita King. "Those people should remain in jail forever."
Governor Schwarzenegger tried to assure the crowd California would remain tough on crime.
"My administration is committed to locking up criminals and putting more cops on the streets in order to prevent crime," Schwarzenegger said.
In a boost for victim's rights, the Schwarzenegger administration announced Monday that inmates convicted of violent crimes will only be able to keep half of any money they earn, or that's sent to them in prison. The other half will be sent to their victims or the victim's family.
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