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Dugard-inspired bill would keep 'dangerous' prisoners locked up

August 17, 2011 |  4:31 pm

Phillip and Nancy Garrido
Two months after Phillip and Nancy Garrido were sentenced for the kidnap and rape of Jaycee Lee Dugard, a group of Northern California legislators introduced a bill to reform the state parole system and keep "dangerous, life-term prisoners" behind bars.

"Although we can’t undo the mistakes of the past, we can make systemic improvements so that all Californians are safer and that victims know government is working to protect them," said Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Roseville), who introduced the bill Wednesday. "Senate Bill 391 is for those Californians who will never become victims because society’s most dangerous criminals are kept where they should  be -- behind bars."

Phillip Garrido was on federal parole for a 1976 kidnap and rape when he and his wife abducted Dugard as the then-11-year-old was walking to the school bus in her South Lake Tahoe neighborhood. They held her for 18 years in a ramshackle compound in Antioch, where she gave birth to two daughters after being raped repeatedly by Garrido.

The proposed bill would reverse a 2008 state Supreme Court decision that requires the California  parole board to look primarily at convicted felons’ behavior while in prison and not the crimes that put them there, according to a written statement by Gaines and several other elected officials.

The decision, the statement said, "has led to a spike in paroles for dangerous life-sentence prisoners." If the bill passes, the parole board would be able to consider a prisoner's crime, prior convictions and other information.

Also this week, the Oakland Tribune reported that police in Hayward interviewed the Garridos in connection with the 1988 abduction of 9-year-old Michaela Garecht. The Garridos, who were each interviewed for more than two hours, maintained their innocence in that crime.

Shortly after Dugard resurfaced in August 2009, law enforcement agents scoured their home for clues to other crimes, but nothing was found. 


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Photo: Nancy and Phillip Garrido during a hearing at the El Dorado County courthouse.

Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press