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California state prison changes take effect today

California state prisons today began offering inmates more credit against their sentences and reducing the number of people sent back behind bars as part of a plan to decrease the prison population by 6,500 inmates over the next year.

Inmates can shave time off their sentences if they work on firefighting crews or get a high school diploma or trade-school certificate or complete drug- or alcohol-rehabilitation programs.

Low-risk offenders, including those convicted of nonviolent crimes, will not have regular supervision by a parole agent. And such offenders will no longer be returned to prison for technical violations such as alcohol use, missed drug tests or failure to notify the state of an address change.

Over time, said prisons chief Matthew Cate, the new rules will lower the rate at which parolees are returned to state lockups, reduce crime overall and "save, over the course of a full year, a half a billion dollars for California taxpayers."

The state will thus address its prison crowding problem while "significantly increasing public safety by focusing our resources on high-risk offenders, serious offenders, violent offenders and sex offenders," Cate said.

Some law-enforcement officials, state legislators and crime-victim advocates took a different view, predicting a jump in crime in California as more people leave prison earlier with less supervision.

Los Angeles Police Lt. Brian Johnson, a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said the changes mean the state "will start to release numerous dangerous felons into our community."

The changes were approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento


Comments () | Archives (12)

Not everyone in the prison system would be dangerous if released early. Give them a break.

How about executing the 400+ on death row? That will also save the tax payers about 60k a year each. Roughly 24 mil a year we tax payers spend to keep them alive.

They are on death row for an average of 20years. If my math is correct (it may not be) thats roughly a half a billion also or close to 480mil..

This sounds like the right thing to do. I can't believe Arnold signed off on it!

The law enforcement labor union members and their "front", the Crime Victims, know that there are 80,000 or more prisoners who should never have been incarcerated in the first place. They are simply human cattle to keep the industry going who were at the wrong place at the wrong time, or showed up half an hour late for an appointment, ate a baked potatoe in their living room with a butter knife. This fear mongering that Republican politicians did is what caused the fiscal collapse of our state. They told similar lies in order to get ineffective but expensive initiatives passed such as 3 strikes, Prop 83 Jessica's Law, Prop 9 and others.

There were no funding sources, so they stole the budgets from education and human services dollars, which are the best deterrents to crime. There is a death toll in the prisons, in fact, an inmate dies every day. It's usually an inmate who didn't have a death sentence. Due to the media restrictions, the public cannot see the full extent of the humanitarian crisis taking place. We have criminalized mental illness. None of this is working, prisons are simply black holes of waste. More than 135,000 prisoners were released last year and crime didn't rise. Don't believe the fear mongers who feed off the human bondage industry and exploit the suffering of the mentally ill.

Release the very sick, either to go home to their relatives or send them to a nursing home. The CDCr gets more money in their prison budget for sick prisoners, they keep them in prison regardless of who has agreed to take care of them. These prisoners are too sick to cause another crime.
My son is one of those prisoners. I am willing and able to take care of him, so why not release him. He is wheelchair bound, leggaly blind, and dying of out of control diabetes.

They should be getting released. The majority of the prisoners should have done a JUST TIME for there crime. They have done well over their time and received UNJUST SENTENCES....Police officers, D.A's throw alot more charges than what they should have been charged with. Then they pay off witnesses and lie on police reports to get a conviction and the truth is never told by the time you go to trial WHAT A JOKE!!!! It is about time that they release them..... They have completed their time.. Most of them dont get the treatment that they need in there. Many of them have familiies waiting with open arms to take care of them and help them because unlike WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THEY DO NOT GET REHABILITATION IN THERE... THERE FAMILIES ARE THERE REHABILITATION..... ITS ALSO TIME TO DO AWAY WITH THE THREE STRIKES.... THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THROWN OUT YEARS AGO.... WAKE UP PEOPLE... WAKE UP... THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSE TO BE PROTECTING US HAVE GOTTEN GREEDY BECAUSE THEIR IS MONEY IN PRISONS..... GREEDINESS IS BEHIND IT....

I used to shoplift as a teenager but stoped.Now 21 I got a good career but temptation struck again. I tought I could get away with a cologne but got caught and now I've been sentenced to 3 years in prison and given a strike because of my juvenile record. I couldve straightend up on my own and be making around $30 an hour by the time I get out, instead I'ma start all over.

Not every prisoner should be considered a threat especially when there are corupt prison systems committing crimes at times worse than those in which they have inmates locked up for!!!!

I've got evidence to prove corruption and will take it to the highest extreem and beyond..actually the Highest already see's ALL and those who are corrupt WILL SEE HIS WRATH!!!

weather posted or not someone is going to eventually listen to what I've got to say,as long as i'm breathing and even if I'm not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

how about the corruption within the prison system?! how about putting some funds tword figting those CRIMINALS!!??!!

What about parole violations. If u test dirty you get locked right back up. Is that solving the problem. This does not solve the overcrowding problem that we are facing. I could see if a crime was committed also but there wasn't he just confessed he was dirty and they violated him


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