STATE REPORT ON TRUANCY ‘CRISIS’

There is no doubt student truancy in the public schools in California has reached an epidemic level. As a former prosecutor serving as a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, I saw first hand the criminal history of countless individuals as part of my caseload. In the past three decades I have been in private practice and one of my areas of focus has been criminal defense; the same patterns have been the same and in some ways have become worse.Such individuals have many similarities, but there was and continues to be a common thread that frequently starts in elementary school.

Although not a psychologist, I have personally had enough cases in which I have utilized forensic experts to know that deviant &/or improper conduct and behavior is often an individual’s effort to cry out for help. Without intervention when an individual evinces trouble, the problem will likely escalate; it can start with a simple infraction, but often escalates to misdemeanor crimes and even felonies. While there is no substitute for loving parental guidance, it is also true that everyone needs and benefits from having personal goals; the importance of achieving even little steps towards realizing them cannot be overstated.

Whether one gets into trouble in the classroom, on the playground, comes late to school or is truant, it starts at a very young age. While many focus on the financial aspects in that schools lose money when students do not attend class, the child and society are hurt much more.We spend far too much money at the other end of the spectrum having to incarcerate than we should to educate.

 

Judge approved request to force-feed inmates

A federal judge approved a request to force-feed California inmates if needed.

It is the seventh week of a statewide prison hunger strike. Since July 8, almost 70 prisoners have refused the prison-issued meals, and officials fear for their welfare. If prisoners have signed do-not-resuscitate requests, policy is to let them starve to death. However, Judge Thelton Henderson gave blanket authority to feed inmates whose health might be failing.

Is this a violation of inmates’ constitutional rights? On one hand, the hunger strike means that the prison will have to spend more time and resources on inmates whose health is failing, and resources at prisons are already stretched thin. But on the other, the prisoners have a right to strike, and given that they are imprisoned, the ways in which they can express their displeasure and make themselves heard are few.

COMMENTARY BY SAN SPITAL, SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE & PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY