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Judge won't halt early release of Orange County Jail inmates

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. A judge on Thursday denied a request by the union representing Orange County deputies to end the early release of jail inmates but signaled that the decision would not be the last word on the issue, setting a hearing for further arguments next month.

In turning down the bid to temporarily block the releases, Superior Court Judge Steven Perk noted that Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has the final say in choosing how to address the new state law that went into effect Jan. 25.

The judge set a hearing for March 12 on arguments for a preliminary injunction.

The law reformulated good behavior credits for state prison inmates, accelerating their release. But it also has caused confusion among local law enforcement officials, many of whom have been advised by county counsels to release inmates early, an interpretation that was backed up this week by Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.

But some, including Orange County had already interpreted the law to apply retroactively or that inmates could begin earning credit toward release from the time they were originally sentenced. That has resulted in the release of just over 400 Orange County Jail inmates in less than a month and by some estimates, over 1,800 statewide.

Wayne Quint, president of the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, said the law put the public at risk and said the union was "very disappointed" that the judge did not immediately cease early releases in the county.

"Our opinion is that one inmate getting out early is one too many," Quint said. "We believe that one of these released criminals is going to victimize someone."

--Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton

Photo: Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (3)

well at least the oc sherif (corona) his harbor deputy (dui) and the riverside chief will get out a little early

what a country ......

Not all inmates will return to crime. Give them a break. Each person should be looked at individually, not as one big bad group. Mistakes are mistakes, not all have criminal histories. I could see not allowing any person that murdered or raped out early. Those are sick people who intentionally hurt others and may repeat. The sentencing should re-evaluated, it's been excessive. If an inmate does another crime then he forfeited ever getting out early. All other inmates should not be penalized because one person repeated a crime. Let them out early, especially if they have a family to welcome them home who will help them to get established again on the outside.

What is the percentage of time inmate are doing??


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