Guest Commentary: Flipping the Script on the Crime Narrative


By Trevor Johnson

This is a crime wave.

Looting in San Francisco. Shooting in Chicago. Breaching the border in Texas. Women disappearing on military bases. Another high profile arrest. Another perp walks. We have to send the criminals a message. We have to take our streets back. If you don’t fight like hell, you’re gonna lose your country.

Their message is outdated propaganda, but when they say it over and over again, it becomes a fact of itself. Not a true statement, just truly stated. But this is a crime wave. Not one of bullets and guns, but of graft and corruption. Let’s look at The California Health Care Facility, the Department of Correction’s newest prison, in Stockton, California.

This is a prison that bums through over a billion dollars a year on medical care for about 2500 inmates because of a court order, yet there is currently no optometrist, no oncology unit, and they are currently sending approximately 200 inmates to other prisons to receive mental health services they can’t deliver here. It has had about eight wardens in about eleven years. There is the overtime epidemic that plagues every California prison. And at a facility that uses over a billion dollars a year to house and feed about 2500 inmates, it serves processed egg squares five days a week and soybean hamburger.

In six years, they’ve put three roofs on the chapel; it took them six years to undertake roof number one. The administration has refused to perform asbestos abatement in the gymnasium or back wing of education. There are no vocational programs. And the administration ran through 1.3 billion in 2020 alone.

And yet, there’s a multi-million-dollar surveillance camera system set up to watch inmates in wheelchairs. About 54 are on one prison yard.

This is the anatomy of a crime wave. An embarrassment of deception limited only by the greed of the politician. A thief, unmasked, well-dressed, robbing you not at the end of a gun, but at the stroke of a pen. These crimes go down in committee.

CHCF-Stockton is not an island. California taxpayers are being pencil-whipped like the financial slaves you are. The political elite first taxed you to create the very conditions that required you to pay even more taxes to solve. Listen to the script:

The criminals own our streets and communities. Let’s put their names in a database. Let’s form a commission. Build a prison. Outlaw guns. Register felons. Truth in sentencing. Three strikes and you’re out; use a gun and you’re done. And the same people have fed us that same crap for forty years. Crime is magically cut in half when they get their law, their jail, and their database. It’s at an all-time high when they want another one. The boogeyman is in the shadows and a bloodbath is on the horizon.

Homelessness is at an all-time high. High school test scores are at an all-time low. Criminals are from Mars; Cops are from Venus. Doesn’t matter; what we need is a law.

But first the bill. I don’t mean the bill that became the law, I mean the bill that has to be paid. Our sales tax is almost 9 percent. It costs over 500 dollars a year to register a car. The gas tax doubles the cost of a gallon of gas, same for cigarettes. Toll roads. Cable taxes. Mello-Roos. Environmental impact fees. Penalty assessments: the fees have fees? What have we learned? Crime may not pay, but the bills sure do. 

You really want your state back? You really want safe streets? You really want smart kids?


Kill off the lobbying. There is no First Amendment right to take a bribe. “State mandated local programs” are not meant for politicians to feed their donors.


You will never have a representative government serving you when the only people with no accountability are the ones making and enforcing the rules.


Reform advocacy in California looks like a Barbeque cookoff; everyone’s got their own stove. We

can learn something from Donald Trump. When his MAGA people found out the Proud Boys and Q-Anon were holding their “stop the steal” rally on January 6, he moved his planned January 20th rally to the 6th to be with them. He exploited the opportunity to stage one of the biggest political stunts in this nation’s history. We’re all on the same page yet we hardly know each other. Does Melina Abdullah, found of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles know who Kelly Savage, found of the Coalition for Women Prisoners is? Has Dorsey Nunn, found of All Or None met Tanya Faison, founder of Black Lives Matter Sacramento? Does Initiate Justice collaborate with Families to End Three Strikes on important legislation? Common, Stop LWOP, Adnan Khan, even the ones I haven’t mentioned. All of you; Listen up; together we’re 50 percent plus one. Organized corruption is exploiting the fact that we’re not on message.

I’ll bet Mike Reynolds, Jim Cooper, Alex Villanueva, and the CCPOA stay in lock step. And they’ll keep making millions for trial lawyers, service employees and prison guards at our expense.

Or should I say, with our money.

Reformists – come out of your foxholes. Gavin won with a super-majority. We have the numbers.

Legislation should not be dying. Qualified immunity should already be history.


Organized corruption loves the fact that Blacks and Hispanics don’t vote. The fifty White people in this state who actually voted drive the politics. The rest of us either voted in anger or fear.

Moreover, it’s not just how we vote, it’s where we vote. Criminal justice reform groups supported legislation that died in appropriations.


Okay, who is on the Appropriations Committees?

Senate Democrats: Anthony Portantino; Steven Bradford; Sydney Kamlager; John Laird; Bob Wieckowsky.

Assembly Democrats: Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher; Lisa Calderon; Wendy Carillo; Edwin Chau; Jesse Gabriel; Eduardo Garcia; Marc Levine; Bill Quirk; Robert Rivas.

I focus on the Democrats because Gavin won with over sixty percent on this ticket. Now, when Liz Cheney supported Trump’s impeachment and the Capitol Riot investigation, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and the Trump Mafia booted her in weeks. And they don’t even have a congressional majority. Sure, it was inter-party stuff, but they did it. If we’re the 50 percent plus one and they stabbed us in the back, why are they still there? Did they even hear anything from us? I bet if it was that Hate Crime bill Mike Reynolds and Ann-Marie Shubert would be screaming bloody murder.

We’re all smarter now. Crying victims are not Kryptonite. They’re a smokescreen. We honor and respect crime victims by working to end victimization; not building billion-dollar monuments to crime. The CCPOA have bought over 1000 pieces of legislation that have either created new crimes or lengthened sentences. And crime is still here. That’s just how they planned it. The only ones who can stop their crime wave is us. This is not a movie. You don’t defeat Godzilla with bombs and fire. You yell “cut” and the guy takes off the Godzilla suit.

Ironic, both prison guards and Godzilla wear green.

Trevor Johnson is incarcerated at California Health Care Facility – Stockton


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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3 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Flipping the Script on the Crime Narrative”

      1. Ron Oertel

        Yeah, I saw that afterward.

        But seriously, doesn’t it look like it could be either one?

        And my original question (might) still nevertheless apply.  🙂

        As a side note, I recall seeing an article somewhere that a couple of prisons “save” money for the state. Now that’s some accounting that probably could be explored. I suspect that they may be using the same accounting system as the school systems do.

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