The Los Angeles County Sheriff will toughen rules on the early release of inmates from its overcrowded jails, reports the Los Angeles Times. Sheriff Lee Baca hopes to keep those with histories of violent crimes behind bars longer. Baca earlier said he didn’t have the resources to research inmates’ past offenses and questioned whether it was fair to consider previous actions when deciding when they would be released.
Now deputies will research the criminal histories of inmates when they are considered for early release. Those with convictions for violent or serious crimes would not be released, even if the crimes that resulted in their most recent jail stints did not involve violence. Officials estimated that the new rules could mean that an additional 1,500 inmates a year will serve their full sentences. In the last four years, the Sheriff’s Department had released more than 150,000 inmates before their sentences were completed. Many inmates released early went on to commit serious new offenses on days when they would otherwise have been in jail, including 518 robberies, 1,443 assaults and 16 murders.