Sheriffs support early release prisoner bill
June 11, 2012
The bill, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would grant compassionate release to prisoners with less then six months to live. Also, for inmates who suffer from a permanent medical condition that requires 24-hour care for help with the activities of daily living, like dressing, bathing or feeding, they would receive medical probation in lieu of jail time.
As a result of realignment, a policy enacted last October that allows offenders convicted of nonserious, nonviolent, nonsexual crimes to serve their sentences in the jurisdictions where they were convicted, tens of thousands of low-level felons who would have served time in state prison are instead sent to county jails. Counties are now required to cover the higher cost associated with longer-term inmates whose care can run up to $2,000 a day compared with $110 a day for a healthier inmate.
In addition, the bill would allow ailing inmates to enroll in Medi-Cal if they are on medical probation, and the county would only have pay the portion of their Med-Cal costs not covered by the federal government.
Leno authored a similar bill that allows medical parole for state prisoners. It permits permanently incapacitated felons in state prisons to be paroled.
Since January, 38 prisoners in California have received medical parole saving the state an estimated $19 million annually.