Patt Morrison for June 23, 2011

Penny wise or pound foolish? California budget cuts slash monitoring of gang parolees

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Elliott Hammer/Flickr

A couple with matching ankle monitors walk across a grassy field.

Pressure from the Supreme Court to reduce inmate populations coupled with large state budget cuts are forcing prison officials to reduce the number of paroled gang members being monitored by GPS tracking devices from 950 to 400 by July 1st. The move follows similar surveillance cuts for criminals; decisions which the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has acknowledged required “difficult choices.” The GPS devices, which enabled officers to hold suspect gang members accountable for crimes committed in any area, may be reinstated on a larger scale when finances are healthier. But is the $6 million dollars it will save worth the potential problems from 450 gang members under the radar? And what does this say about the state’s willingness to trade safety for financial stability?


Scott Kernan, undersecretary of operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

Bob Weisberg, co-director of the Criminal Justice Center at Stanford University, where he studies California's budget impact on correctional policies, prison overcrowding and sentencing reform

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