State will remove tracking devices from paroled gang members
June 25, 2011
California prison officials plan to remove GPS tracking devices from hundreds of paroled gang members in an effort to save money in the state’s troubled budget. [Sacramento Bee]
The department of corrections will cut its monitoring program by more than half, reducing the numbers of tracked gang members from 950 to 400 by July 1.
“Of those gang members that were on GPS, we do not have any in San Luis Obispo County,” said Ben Jimenez, corrections district administrator for the Central Coast.
The reduction will save the state about $6 million and comes at a difficult time for many law enforcement agencies throughout California. Sacramento’s police department, for example, will disband its gang unit next week.
SLO County Sheriff’s spokesman Rob Bryn said the department’s gang unit task force is “up and running, and we’re not anticipating any reductions” but is continuing to monitor developments in the state budget.
“The big question is going to be,” he added, “what’s it going to be like after the state settles its budget?” Funding for law enforcement throughout the state is a big problem, he said. Riverside County “is looking at eliminating at least 400 positions” from its sheriff’s department, Bryn said.
In fact, the Leaf Chronicle reports that Riverside County’s budget proposal would eliminate 500 deputies, correctional officers and clerical workers from its sheriff’s department.
Once the state’s budget issues have been settled, Bryn said, “we’re hoping to augment the gang unit task force” in SLO County rather than reduce it.
The state will also reduce monitoring 1,700 parolees serving time in home detention to about 500. Officials emphasized that the reduced GPS monitoring will not include the 7,550 sex offenders in the program.
Meanwhile, corrections officials hope to transfer tens of thousands of nonviolent parole violators from state prisons to county jails as part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s “realignment” plan.