Local officials across California are bracing to manage more parolees and nonviolent felons under a new law effective Saturday keeping non-violent prisoners in county jails. The Los Angeles Times quotes Los Angeles County supervisors as saying the change could lead to a surge in crime and lawsuits. “It is actually a reckless and pathetic shirking of the state’s responsibility to its citizens,” said Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley believes the change will increase crime and lead judges to impose shorter sentences because they know the county already has overcrowded jails. Some officials say parolees may have a better chance to be rehabilitated under county care because they will have access to drug treatment and programs offered by faith-based and community groups. “If we do the work and involve the community, I firmly believe that we can make a significant difference,” said Ralph Miller, president of the Los Angeles County Deputy Probation Officers Union.