It’s one of the many money saving gimmicks in Gov. Jerry Brown’s overarching budget plan: “nonviolent, nonsex-offender, nonserious” inmates and parolees will be moved out of the California prison system and into county jails and probation departments throughout the state. The legislature approved a bill last week that would give $5.9 billion to the counties to take these prisoners and ensure that most of them will never return to the state prison system, as parolees will now be going to county jails for parole violations. Critics of the plan charge that the end result will be a massive release of prisoners, as 34 of the 58 county jails in California are already overcrowded and simply have no room for prisoner transfers. Supporters contend that it will save the state desperately needed money and resources, and will impact inmates who are not threats to public safety. It’s a big piece of the plan to close the state’s $26 billion deficit, but is the potential hit on public safety worth the saved money?
Matthew Cate, secretary of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
Chief Patrick Williams, Desert Hot Springs Police Department