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Early Release Possible For Inmates As Local Jails Fill

"... our jails are now operating at maximum capacity," the Riverside County Sheriff's Department reports.

The state’s prison inmate population is shrinking, but the number of convicted criminals housed inside Riverside County jails is growing, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“As of January 5, 2012, the Sheriff's Department's jails are housing 735 inmates who would have been sent to state prison for felony court convictions or violations of their state parole,” according to a Friday news release from the Sheriff’s Department.

Federal courts have forced California to reduce its inmate population as a way to better care for those incarcerated in what is the nation’s largest prison system. The state has been blasted by the courts for overcrowding and lack of inmate health care in its prison system.

To help deal with the problem, last year California lawmakers passed State Assembly Bill 109 by a partisan vote, with Democrats voting for and Republicans against. The legislation is designed to reduce state prison overcrowding, costs, and recidivism by "realigning" inmates from state institutions into local county jails.

According to the Associated Press, as a result of realignment the state's inmate population across its 33 prisons for adults fell to 132,887 as of last week. The number is down by about 10,000 as compared to early 2011 figures, the AP reported.

But Friday’s news release from the Sheriff’s Department warns that under AB 109’s realignment policy, Riverside County will see the early release of inmates because, according to department officials, there isn’t enough room for all the criminals in local jails.

“AB 109 has created a drastic increase in the number of inmates in our custody and our jails are now operating at maximum capacity,” the release stated. “The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is operating under a federal court order requiring that every inmate housed in its jails has a bed. As a result, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department will be forced to relieve overcrowding by exercising measures such as electronic ankle bracelet monitoring, return parole violators to the supervision of parole, and the early release of some lower-level inmates.”

Those convicted of violent and/or sex crimes are still being housed in state prisons, but inmates facing three years or less for non-violent, non-sexual or non-serious crimes are being sent to county jails under AB 109.

Yet according to the Sheriff's Department, current jail records show that almost 20 percent of inmates convicted of these "non" offenses are receiving jail sentences exceeding three years.

The news release also contends that, under AB 109, the county is no longer able to place parole violators into the state prison system, which is further impacting the overcrowding problem in local jails.

“Prior to AB 109, … parole violators would have remained in the jail's custody for only 1-2 days and then returned to the care and custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation." According to the release, parole violators are taking up valuable space in the county jails – up to 60 to 90 days.

Republican lawmakers and some law enforcement officials have predicted rising crime rates because of the realignment under AB 109.

When Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) announced his bid in April for a 2012 county supervisor seat, he blasted AB 109.  More recently, he has warned of the potential loss of inmate labor and its impact on firefighting readiness as result of AB 109.

California houses about 5,300 inmates in fire camps and private state prisons, according to Associated Press statistics. Jeffries has urged that the county have a plan in place to deal with the shift of inmates from state fire camps to county jails.

LBV Collins January 07, 2012 at 03:56 PM
It would be nice to know what the typical non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious crimes are of those to be released. Are they people convicted of DUI or drug possession? Petty theft (like stealing clothes from Kohl’s)? I have no idea, though I did come across this: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Operations/FOPS/docs/ACP-Fact-Sheet-Final.pdf. It discusses conditions for the early release of female inmates and notes that “45 percent of …female inmates will be potentially eligible” for early release. (Nearly half of female inmates? Wow! That’s a lot of people. And I wonder how many males would qualify.)
LBV Collins January 07, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I did a bit more research. Here’s the CDCR website for the 2011 Public Safety Realignment: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/index.html. While I can’t find a list of non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious crimes, I did find this list of non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious crimes that would be excluded: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/docs/Final-Crime-Exclusion-List.pdf. (In other words, the list shows non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious crimes where the inmate would NOT be released and would remain in prison/jail.)
simple January 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
If there current charge is drugs or thefts they can be eligible, even if they have sexual assaults or violence/ gangs in back ground. Based on current status
LBV Collins January 07, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Hi Simple. That’s not quite correct. The crimes have to be non-violent and non-sexual to qualify for release. Also, the Final Crime Exclusion List excludes those convicted of criminal gang activity, street gang activity, or gang registration violations from eligibility. [1] 1. http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/docs/Final-Crime-Exclusion-List.pdf (See page 3)
Michael Mason January 07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Under realignment, ALL parolees are required to serve their violation time, which has been reduced from a max of 1 year to 90 days, in County Jail. That is ALL parolees - child molesters, gang members, murderers and rapists included. These are the people being released early into our communities and without consequence. Some of those who are released early are committing more serious crimes. James Whitaker had been arrested for a series of burglaries. He was released after just a few hours in the Fresno County jail. Four days later, he allegedly held up a bank. Earlier in the week the story was Tino Tufono – Fresno’s Number Two car thief. He’d been in and out of the jail the past few months. He was most recently released November 28th due to overcrowding. A week later, he allegedly shot a man to death. On Christmas day, Derrick Blanton of Oroville was arrested for forcibly entering the victim's apartment in an attempted robbery, during which time he allegedly fatally shot a man and wounded two others, including a woman. Blanton had an active warrant for his arrest after he failed to report to parole (a so called "technical violation") following his early release from Jail due to overcrowding caused by AB 109. Last week it was Steven Hoff, who shot a Parole Agent in the face. Under realignment, Hoff would be classified a "non violent, non serious" offender based upon his current convictions of Burglary 2nd and ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Michael Mason January 07, 2012 at 07:08 PM
ALL parolees are required to serve their violation time, which has been reduced from a max of 1 year to 90 days, in County Jail. That is ALL parolees - child molesters, gang members, murderers and rapists included. These are the people being released early into our communities and without consequence. Furthermore, AB 109 only considers the offenders CURRENT offense when determining post release supervision level - makes no difference that he has prior convictions for gang, assault, or sex crimes.
simple January 07, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Wow, still crazy. We need a tent city. The inmates can build it for free labor. We got plenty of land.
Wizard Without Remorse January 08, 2012 at 02:01 AM
About 30 years ago we (the voters) started a campaign to build more prisons and create stiffer penalties for crimes (use a gun, go to prison; three strikes, Jessica's Law, and so many more). At the same time we stopped doing much of the intensive supervision and invertention strategies we were previously using. Now we are paying the price! What is funnier is that all the statistics say that crime is going down, especially violent crime. This seems to be a natural effect of society getting older by average as the baby boomers cycle out of the primary criminal age groups. To me the problem lies in the fact that we are exposed to more crime through the media and we are scared because we think it is more dangerous out there. What is needed is less correction officers and more parole agents; less police and sheriff's deputies and more probation officers. We need both of course, but intervening more in the identified criminal population (drug user, gang members, sex offenders, active parolees and probationers) is more effective. Use programs and more immediate sanctions including short jail stays rather than long term incarceration and random patroling.
KR January 08, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Who are the people getting placed in group homes? Can criminals be placed in group homes with ankle monitoring?
KR January 08, 2012 at 07:48 AM
I should clarify, group homes in residential neighborhoods.
Wizard Without Remorse January 08, 2012 at 09:59 AM
It is a wonderful idea, can we open it right next door to you? That is the problem with group homes and shelters, everyone thinks it is a great idea if it is in someone else's neighborhood. As much as possible first time offenders and non-violent parolees and probationers should be housed in their own homes or that of willing family. In order for people to re-enter society successfully they need to be integrated into that society. Currently we tell people released from custody to report within 24 to 72 hours and offer them no assistance or guidance in how to survive. They are forced to resort back to criminal behavior just to survive. For the price of one inmate's yearly incarceration we could provide assistance with housing, food, and job search to several dozen.
KR January 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I was asking because I DO live next door to one and even though our HOA prohibits them, there is a law that over rides that. I'm not ok with it and am having a hard time getting any straight answers as to who this house of men really are. There is also an elementary school within the neighborhood.
Steve January 09, 2012 at 02:42 AM
All the inmates get totally free healthcare, same treatment as in the "free" world.
Wizard Without Remorse January 09, 2012 at 03:01 AM
KR, you can talk with your HOA and inform them of your concerns but they may not be willing to give you information if the house in question is not violating their rules. You can also ask the county to see whether the house is being used within zoning guidelines. Again they may not tell you anything but they will probably take a look. If you have specific concerns you can make a report to the sheriff's office. Lastly, if you believe registered sex offenders are living in the house that information is available to you under Jessica's Law and you can find it by searching the internet. Sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2000 feet of a school so I doubt there are any if your house is within that range, however, the Parole Department has a history of violating that state law in spades with their half-way houses.
KR January 10, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Thank you Mr.Avery
tallone January 11, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I felt compelled to sign up for this newsletter after I Googled “early release” and read the comments of the original poster. I’d like to get in on this conversation, if I may. My father (65) has been incarcerated for the past 24 years for second degree murder. His crime was considered a crime of passion (his girlfriend), he pled guilty and struck a deal right off the bat to avoid a jury trial due to his life long battle with alcoholism. He was sentenced 15 to life. Had our family been subpoenaed we would have only hurt him in court as he was a mean drunk. He was quite abusive towards my mother when they were married and to me and my siblings. He could have received 25 to life, but it was proven not to be pre-meditated, so it remained second degree instead of first. He did not have any prior convictions, not even a DUI, surprisingly. To get to my point, he has been to many a parole board hearing. The BOPT found him suitable once, only to be rejected by Gray Davis on his way out of office. He was then given a three year date to go back to the board where he was found ineligible for parole and has yet to be found suitable since. He has never had a black mark against him the entire time he has been in prison. He has jumped through every hoop as to shine, schooling, learned many trades, and has worked so many different jobs on the inside, I can’t even begin to tell you about them.
tallone January 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Once off the juice, he could be quite productive. He once told me it’s like the public school system, how the schools get paid for each child in attendance every day. One has to wonder how he could be found suitable by one board and three years later another board denies him with his file sitting in front of them. He claims there are many inmates with similar stories to his, all awaiting their “dates”. In their eyes, the three judge panel has been sent from heaven just for them. I don’t believe they will be letting anyone out that isn’t proven worthy. They will have to let some of these inmates out, but not until they have scoured their CDC files. Too much at stake for Gov. Brown not to, with the public on his tail and the feds watching the calendar. I have to have faith in the system, I don’t want the boogey man roaming my neighborhood either. Mr. Avery, word on the street is thousands of CO’s have received pink slips so their days might be numbered. I think you’re right about needing more PO’s and parole agent’s, primarily with this realignment.
tallone January 11, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Well, in closing my father has become my best friend, it’s as if I met him the first time at the age of 22 (24 years ago) and under those circumstances it was rather trying to say the least. I wanted to hire an attorney once but he wouldn’t allow me to. He told me to save the money for his grandchildren’s college fund, which I did. I believe the State of California cannot punish him enough for the crime he committed, he punishes himself in the memory of it each and every day. He has just had some major health issues, wish I could have been there with him while they were transporting him to a local hospital for treatment, shackles and all. He believes the good Lord will open those doors when it’s time. He goes back to the board in July, I hope it’s time.
LBV Collins January 11, 2012 at 03:29 AM
I appreciate you sharing your experiences and perspective, Tallone. Thank you.
Honey Love March 30, 2012 at 06:57 AM
i heard from an inmate in the Lynwood count jail (Century Regional Detention Facility) that there has been word spread around the the AB 109 inmates will now be serving only 35% of their time. There is no offical notice about it that I've been able to find online, but was wondering if anyone knew or have heard anything of it.
Lou Conley June 08, 2012 at 09:33 PM
I'm on the same curious level as Honey Love, is there an actual early kick-out rate for inmates in the L.A. County Jails?
ClCnJJC88 November 06, 2012 at 08:19 AM
So are non violent getting 35%?
ms.scorpio68 January 03, 2013 at 09:16 AM
La County is doing about 10% on thier sentence time so on 1 year thier doing about 36 days
patty ray February 03, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Federal kicks- do they offer that to inmates who have not entered a plea?
donna brown February 14, 2013 at 04:52 AM
If L.A. county would stop putting people in jail for petty stuff like 4yr with half for a probation violation with no new case, they would have plenty of room for the ones that need to be in jail,I mean come on now 4yr for a non violent probation violation and no new case thats crazy just because they had police contact,and
sharon mendoza March 26, 2013 at 07:47 AM
I too am wondering if the 35% is still in effect and does it apply to la county I've read a few articles but nothing solid just a fee weak comments being non violent female not gang affiliated or sexual of any sort but that's all hearsay anyone got some facts or heard the judge or government. Declare this? My friends waiting on my info so if you know place lrte know
Fabby Espinoza June 10, 2013 at 01:15 PM
I am wondering if this early dismissal or he 35% also applies for men in the twin towers as my husband was sentence to 16 months to do 8 for a felony probation violation .
Susanna Marie Gomez February 03, 2014 at 05:32 PM
Donna has hit the nail right on the head. Riverside county makes it's main money by incarcerating people for offenses that are just plain silly. I just got out myself from Riverside Jail System for missing a court date related to driving with a broken tail light! They tried to give me prison time because according to them I "violated probation" on a case that was many years earlier and ironically I was only arrested THAT time because I managed to escape from an ex boyfriend who tried to kill me! When they didn't catch him they threw charges on ME! The VICTIM of the assault! So I caught a felony for surviving that attack as well as 3 years probation. When this tail light thing came up- I was almost done with the probation- no violations and no other contact with law enforcement (of course not! I'm not a "criminal type"! I'm a law abiding normal citizen!) they wanted to give me prison. It's pathetic when you really think about it. They are making big money incarcerating innocent people who have no chance in hell to defend themselves against this corrupt system and now they want to complain when they are FORCED to let people go?? Give me a break. It's politics dirty politics- pure and simple. And it's SAD.

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