In May 2011, the United States Supreme Court upheld the order of a federal judicial panel which required that the State of California reduce its prison population, following lawsuits alleging prison over-crowding which violated the rights of prisoners. To meet looming deadlines, the State is considering an early release program.
Despite all our protests and concerns, last year, the State began sending its prisoners to us through “realignment” – a fancy way of dumping their problems on local governments. Since last October, Los Angeles County has taken on over 7,700 prisoners. As we predicted, the State has not provided even half of the funding we need to take on these additional prisoners.
Now the federal government wants to force a further decrease in the jail population of almost 9,000 more prisoners. The State’s response cannot be to release prisoners early, without proper screening or procedures. Issues of recidivism and the lack of resources for supervision at the local level must be addressed. Releasing prisoners early only compromises public safety and puts more pressure on law enforcement. Enough is enough! Releasing prisoners early is a miscarriage of justice dumped on the people of California – what about their rights?