Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kamala Harris Sworn In as First Female Attorney General

SACRAMENTO-- Democrat Kamala Harris was sworn in as attorney general today, becoming the first woman and first minority to hold California's top law enforcement office.

She told hundreds of supporters that she will be an innovator who will be smart on crime as well as tough on crime.

"Being smart on crime is about doing more preventing and less reacting," she said, promising to target chronic truancy and the underlying causes of criminal behavior as she did during two terms as San Francisco district attorney.

She pledged to send prosecutors on the road to work with county district attorneys to fight environmental crimes. She said she will join with the federal government and attorneys general from other border states in a regional approach to combatting transnational gangs that cross into Mexico.

She said she will work to reform an overcrowded, costly prison system in which seven of 10 parolees are quickly sent back behind bars. A good starting place is with female inmates, she said, because 60 percent are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes and two-thirds are mothers who have an extra incentive to turn their lives around.

About 10,000 of California's 163,000 adult inmates are women.

"For many offenders, prison amounts to attending crime college," Harris said in a 28-minute speech that ran longer than that delivered by new Gov. Jerry Brown earlier in the day. "Most nonviolent offenders are learning the wrong lesson."

Read More at Mercury News

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