Steven Greenhut Asks Why California Won't Release Innocent Men from Prison


Governor's Office

California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state legislature have been cutting down on prison overcrowding to comply with a federal court order, thus leading to a "realignment" policy that moves inmates from state-run prisons to county jails and a policy that may result in some early releases. Whatever one thinks of the governor's handling of this matter, it's hard to understand why he hasn't pursued his prison-reduction efforts by harvesting some low-hanging fruit – i.e., releasing from prison those inmates who almost certainly are not guilty of the crimes for which they've been convicted. The governor, after all, has the power to grant clemency and pardons. Why not act on the evidence surrounding the so-called California 12? After all, explains Steven Greenhut, 11 of them have secured their exoneration.