DA: Murray May Be Released Early In Efforts To Ease Jail Overcrowding

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A proposal to reduce overcrowding at Los Angeles County jails by approving early release for nonviolent offenders may lead to a shortened prison sentence for one infamous inmate.

As more inmates from state prisons are transferred to local facilities, space is becoming increasingly limited — a development that could potentially put some inmates back on the street, L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley told KNX 1070.

Cooley suggested one way to remedy overcrowding is for the county to consider alternative forms of punishment.

“House arrest programs, electronic monitoring, check into a day care center, a wide variety of other rehab programs that are not involved with incarceration,” said Cooley.

An estimated 8,000 inmates who would otherwise serve time in state prison will be transferred to local jails every year, according to Cooley.

Sheriff Lee Baca has recently vowed to upgrade the county’s jail system after reports of deputy misconduct have triggered complaints from civil rights groups and an federal investigation.

But despite the pledges of reform, Cooley warned the possibility of releasing inmates early could fuel rising crime rates and even lead to a very short stint behind bars for Dr. Conrad Murray.

“It won’t matter what Steve Cooley wants, it won’t matter what the Superior Court judge wants, it doesn’t matter what the law is, it doesn’t matter what the people want,” said Cooley.

“Vast powers are going to be invested in the sheriff who has to manage a very difficult, large population of people incarcerated in the jails, and this is the folly of AB109 brought to us by the governor and the state legislature,” he added.

Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop star Michael Jackson, faces sentencing on Nov. 29.


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