Calif. Inmate Realignment Puts Pressure On County Jails

SANTA ANA (AP) — The jails in Riverside County east of Los Angeles were finally catching up with the region’s rapid growth when state lawmakers passed legislation that assigned thousands of inmates who would have gone to prison to their local lock-ups instead.

Sheriff Stan Sniff says in the past five months the county has released 1,500 other offenders early to make room.

For more than half of California’s 58 counties, that situation is compounded by prior court-ordered caps on their jail populations.

Since the law took effect Oct. 1, there have been several instances of released inmates committing new offenses and anecdotal reports of rising property crimes.

But law enforcement agencies say it’s too soon to tell if those cases equal a trend and the full picture probably won’t emerge for a year.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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