A California District Attorney tore apart the state prison system’s early release policies after she was notified that a serial arsonist would be released back into the community after only serving eight years of his 30-year sentence.
Madera County District Attorney Sally O. Moreno said she personally prosecuted the serial arsonist case involving Kenneth Alan Jackson. Madera County is located at the gateway to Yosemite National Park, a popular destination for residents of San Francisco, the Bay Area, and the Los Angeles area.
“I got notified by CDCR our prison system yesterday, that they intend to release wildland serial arsonist Kenneth Alan Jackson back into our community, next Tuesday,” Moreno said last week in a video. “This is wrong and this is not how this is supposed to happen. This convicted serial arsonist set 30 fires in six weeks. He had a 30-year sentence based on a conviction by a Madera jury, and a sentence by a Madera judge. Although that sentence was reduced he's now getting out after serving only eight years.”
Jackson was sentenced in 2014 for sparking a number of fires at Yosemite Lakes Park in 2013.
“Nobody expected him to be out this quickly, as you know I prosecuted this case personally,” Moreno said. “It seems to me like it was just yesterday, and I'm sure it seems that way to you too.”
“Here we are,” she added. “It's fire season, and a wildland arson is now going to be released among us. This is not how the system should work. CDCR prison system is releasing dangerous criminals in a way that's thoughtless. It's not transparent. So we don't know when someone like this man who terrorized our community is going to get out until the very last minute. This is what's happening here and it's wrong.”
Other local officials added their outrage to the word of the early release.
"I was deeply troubled to hear the news that convicted arsonist, Kenneth Allen Jackson, would be released after only having served 8 of his 30-year sentence," said State Senator Anna Caballero. "Jackson not only caused significant damage, but terrorized and devastated his victims. His release is cause for concern, especially as we are entering wildfire season and are in the midst of a drought. My office is taking this seriously, and is communicating with CDCR and the Governor's office in support of the petition circulated by victims and residents to relocate Jackson.”
Moreno said she has issues with the state corrections system releasing convicts early.
“That's why I and 43 other district attorneys around the state are in the process of suing CDCR to force them to be more transparent and to let us look at their process and how it is they're deciding just who gets released,” she said. “So here's what we can do at this late hour there is something that we can do, but it needs to be done today, you can fill out a form, if you were a victim of Kenneth Alan Jackson, requesting that he be released to another county besides Madera.”
Moreno believes the early releases of convicts will jeopardize public safety.
“This is wrong, and it needs to stop,” she said. "It's time for California to make public safety a priority again.”