CA Sheriff Fears Federal Order To Reduce State Prison Population Will Burden County Jails

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The leader of a California Sheriffs group says a federal order to reduce the state prison population could dump thousands of inmates in county jails. But, he says counties aren’t prepared.
Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports...
Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker is President of the California State Sheriff’s Association.  

He’s disappointed with this week’s ruling by a panel of three federal judges. 

It orders the state to come up with a plan to reduce its overcrowded prison population by more than 40-thousand inmates within two years.   Parker says that will lead to a huge transfer of state inmates to county jails that aren’t ready to handle them...
“Obviously there are going to be state inmates coming back to the counties and there won’t be any money coming to the counties and so this will be another unfunded mandate. However, we’re realists and we realize something has to be done and we just want to do whatever we can to have the least impact on our counties and our citizens...”
Parker says sheriffs were already working with Governor Schwarzenegger to reduce the state prison population. 

He says that includes alternative sentences—for example making more non-violent inmates serve out their sentences at home while wearing electronic monitoring devices. 

But, he says even that would be an additional expense that the state and counties can’t afford right now.