The California Department of Corrections has reportedly redesigned its website in such a way that it’s now demonstrably harder for sleuths to track down the truth about Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris’s record as the state’s former attorney general.
Until recently, a page on the website allowed visitors to access past, archived data on the department’s inmate population, i.e., “important information on demographics, sentence length, offense type, and other figures relevant to criminal justice and incarceration,” according to the Washington Free Beacon:
But this doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.
“As of August 2019, the same web page now serves only a single ODP report, the one for Spring 2019. The pre-2019 reports have been removed,” the Free Beacon notes.
This matters because “the reports contain information about Harris’s entire time as state A.G., 2011 to 2017. Harris has taken fire from multiple opponents for her ‘tough on crime’ record as California’s top cop, an image that she has tried to shed as a far-left senator and presidential candidate.”
Yet this information has suddenly gone missing …
In a statement to the Beacon, a CDCR official said the changes were prompted by a recently enacted law passed in 2017, AB 434, that governs the standards for Web accessibility used by state agencies.
“Making our website fully compliant was a significant and ongoing undertaking. It required a redesign of the look and feel of the website, and a need to evaluate all of the thousands of documents and other files that were linked to our website,” the official said.
“While many documents that are not accessible can be remediated, it is a significant use of resources to do it across the board. Some older documents have been removed from our website but are still available upon request; others are temporarily removed while they are being remediated; and many others have already been remediated and are on our website.”
California is inclusive! The state has devised a web accessibility requirement to assure everyone can easily reach California government websites, including with speech-activated devices. https://t.co/UmFcjzfHP9 @CAGovOps @CaliforniaDOR #Accessibility #CustomerService pic.twitter.com/dUY54liBfC
— FI$Cal (@CalFiscal) July 30, 2018
Dovetailing back to Harris’s record, it was via the previously available documents that the Beacon was able to establish that over 127,000 black and Hispanic Californians (versus 48,761 white and 11,182 “other” Californians) were incarcerated during her tenure as AG.
This speaks to a racial disparity, and while a racial disparity in the criminal justice system proves nothing, it has been used by her opponents in the 2020 race and their allies in the media to paint her as a “narc” indifferent to the concerns of minority communities.
Writing earlier this year in the far-left magazine In These Times, one far-left commentator expressed frustration with Harris’s particularly disturbing — to the left, that is — habit of prioritizing the enforcement of both the law and good behavior standards over the radical far-left’s priority of catering to law-breakers, incarcerated inmates, etc.
“As attorney general, Harris successfully championed legislation to criminalize truancy and punish parents with fines and incarceration,” commentator Marie Gottschalk opined.
“She also sided with Gov. Jerry Brown to stymie implementation of Brown v. Plata, the most consequential prisoners’ rights decision in more than a generation, by repeatedly returning the case to the lower courts. The U.S. Supreme Court had declared that California’s grossly overcrowded prisons were unconstitutional and ordered the state to reduce its inmate population. Andrew Cohen of the Brennan Center for Justice characterized these attempts to ‘weasel out’ of the Supreme Court’s ruling as ‘nothing short of contemptuous.'”
Brown and Harris appeared to believe that letting dangerous criminals back out onto the streets just to alleviate the crowding in prison wasn’t such a good idea, much to Gottschalk’s dismay.
The problem for the California senator is that “progressives” like Gottschalk seem to be the face of her party and thus the people whom she must impress to win the Democrat nomination.
While trying to impress the base, Harris must also simultaneously ward off attacks from other 2020 contenders like Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who pummeled her during the Democrat presidential primary debates this week by bringing up additional information about her controversial record:
- “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from Death Row.”
- “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
- “She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.”
- “She fought to keep cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.”
Gabbard doubled down on her criticism afterward.
“Even she said tonight, a few times, how proud she is of her record,” she said to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Yet there are too many people in California who have directly suffered. Families who have been torn apart. People who have individually been harmed because of the decisions that she made as attorney general.”
“People like Kamala Harris need to be held accountable for their record–not for something she said or did 50 years ago. This is something she did in her last job before she was elected a U.S. senator.”
While that’s a fair enough assertion, the problem is that the California Department of Corrections has just made it that much harder to hold Harris accountable.