California freeing violent inmates
April 1, 2010
In an attempt to save money, the state of California is releasing prisoners early, including some who were convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, and attacks on children and the elderly. [Associated Press]
The state’s early release program specifically forbids officials from releasing prisoners convicted of 150 different crimes, including rape and murder. However, any offense that is not specifically listed qualifies for release and individual counties can then decide who gets out.
Sacramento approved the early release program last year as a way to cut costs and reduce crowded state prisons and county jails–figures as high as $1 billion have been used in claiming financial savings.
More than 2,000 prisoners were released statewide before completing their full sentences, according to the California State Sheriff’s Association.
In Orange County, for example, about 8 percent of the 278 inmates who were released early had been convicted of crimes including assault, battery, domestic violence, and inflicting injury to a child.
Illinois recently suspended its early release program after almost 200 inmates had returned to prison for new crimes–authorities determined that the program was releasing prisoners too early.