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Crime renews lawmaker's concerns about shifting felons to counties

January 11, 2012 |  3:13 pm

A Republican lawmaker who opposes shifting supervision of many felons from the state to counties voiced concern Wednesday over the arrest of a Sacramento man this week on sexual assault charges a month after he was released from state prison.

Aaron Suggs had been designated a non-serious, nonviolent felon when he was released from state prison Dec. 8 after serving a sentence for drug possession. That designation resulted in his supervision, upon release, being assigned to the Sacramento County Probation Department rather than state parole agents under a program adopted by the state last year to cut its costs.

State prisons spokesman Luis Patino said last year's change in state law shifting responsibilities for some felons to counties did not affect how long Suggs spent in prison. County officials also denied that the shifting of post-prison supervision had an effect on Suggs’ ability to commit the crime, although Suggs spent five days in county jail for not immediately reporting to his county probation officer after his release from prison.

Suggs was arrested Monday after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in a house near the Capitol and stole some of her possessions.

The crime was cited by Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway of Tulare as raising red flags about the state’s ongoing efforts to shift the responsibility for many felons to counties, an aide said.

"This program was billed as releasing nonviolent offenders into communities and this particular suspect was accused of violent crime," said Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for Conway.

RELATED:

Prison crowding defies easy answers

California's county jails struggle to house influx of state prisoners

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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