Sheriffs in Washington State gathered yesterday outside two state prisons to protest the early release of 283 inmates across the state last week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says. “The sheriffs have come together today to speak in one, loud voice,” King County Sheriff Dave Reichert said. “This is a huge step in the wrong direction.”
The sheriffs are concerned about a new state law that allows sentences to be reduced by as much as half as reward for good behavior. The old law allowed sentences to be reduced by no more than a third. Sheriffs believe that only nonviolent offenders should be eligible for the early release and that many of those freed under the new bill are violent. Of those released July 1, two had convictions for assault and 13 had firearms-related convictions.
The state had an inmate population of about 16,500 as of July 1, with only 350 eligible for early release under the new law. The measure is expected to save the state about $40 million over two years.