LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials have acknowledged that some low-level, nonviolent prisoners are being released early under a federal court order to reduce the inmate population.
“For many of those offenders, this just means that the sentence date, the release date, is changed by a matter of days. These are people who were going to be under that supervision, anyway. It’s just that their dates were changed by a few days in these cases. That’s what’s happened,” Jeffrey Callison, the press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said.
KCAL9’s Dave Bryan said officials are not using the term “early release.” They said the release dates for some prisoners have been “recalculated”—shortened because they’ve been given more credit for good behavior.
The released inmates will be supervised by parole agents or probation officers.
“We could be talking about hundreds over the course of the next couple of years, but out of a total custody population of 135,000, it will inevitably be a very small percentage,” Callison said.
Gardena Police Chief Edward Medrano, the past president of the L.A. County Police Chiefs’ Association, said his primary concern is the impact the situation might have on public safety.
“I think all the chiefs in Los Angeles County are concerned that it will compromise public safety. It’s been an additional burden that’s been added to our county,” he said. “I think that people really have to be concerned about early releases and the fact that it does have a trickle-down effect in terms of the entire process. People are spending a fraction of their time in jail.”
Callison, however, was confident the release would not impact the residents’ security.
“We are confident that local probation departments and parole agents will handle these offenders once they return to their communities just the same way as they would’ve done if the sentence had not been changed by the federal court order,” he said.