Vargas: Prop 57 will put more sociopaths on our streets


When you hear the word “sociopath” most of us immediately conjure up images of serial killers and movie villains.

Most people envision Hannibal Lector, the Joker, Ted Bunny and Richard Ramirez.

Though some sociopaths become murders, most do not.

The truth is most sociopaths are non-violent, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful.

According to most definitions, a sociopath is described as someone who lacks a moral conscience or sense of empathy. They are often described as liars, deceitful, reckless and remorseless.

In many ways, they are the people who just don’t like to stay between the lines.

You know the kind: The rules don’t apply to them.

How would you feel if I told you 7,000 sociopaths could possibly be released on the streets of your communities?

Chances are most of you would say that doesn’t sound like a good idea.

With Proposition 57, that is exactly what might happen. Supporters have named it, “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act.”

The proposition calls for a large category of “non-violent” offenders currently now in prison to be released into communities.

Now who exactly is a non-violent offender?

They are the thieves who steal your packages off your front porch.

They are the people who break into your car while you’re at the gym or shopping.

They are the scammers who call you on the phone and tell you they are with the IRS, and you owe them money.

They are the people who deceive your elderly relatives out of their life savings.

They are the thieves who steal from most of the stores you shop at, raising the prices you end up paying.

They are the people who ransack your home while you’re away and steal your most prized possessions.

The harm they commit is immeasurable — just ask anyone whose sense of safety and security has been violated.

You know the feeling you get when you find your car window broken?

When you open the door to your home and find everything in shambles?

When you find a charge on your credit card that wasn’t yours?

Many of the people who currently are in prison perfectly fit the definition of a sociopath. They don’t care who they harm in committing their crimes.

Putting them in prison protects the public from their anti-social behavior.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big proponent of rehabilitative programs for drug offenders, but these efforts should be occurring before they even set foot on our streets.

Letting people out of prison who have already proved themselves harmful to our communities is not a good idea.

If the intent is to save money, there must be other ways to do that rather than put our communities at risk.

If the intent is to manage bed space in the prison system, then maybe we should focus on keeping kids out of prison before we open the doors.

There are other areas of Proposition 57 that are more debatable, such as who decides to try juveniles as adults, but that’s only a very small part of the people who are in the justice system.

Let’s face it: Our communities are not made safer by freeing people who have been tried and convicted of crimes that have caused people harm.

It just doesn’t seem like any part of this proposition will make any of our communities safer.