California Department of Corrections officials are preparing a new policy directive that will result in thousands of additional early parole discharges for less-serious offenders. The state Department of Finance has projected as many as 25,000 more early parole releases for the current fiscal year, according to the Sacramento Bee. But the acting director of the corrections agency’s parole division said the increase will be considerably less.
Corrections officials, under pressure to find ways of saving millions of dollars in another tight budget year, say the early discharges will present no threat to public safety. They say only parolees convicted of less-serious, nonviolent crimes who have been trouble-free for a full year of parole would qualify for early discharge under laws that are already on the books. But the parole agents union says the early discharges will result in more crimes being committed by the unsupervised offenders, even if they were originally convicted only for less-serious property or drug crimes. “The public ought to be concerned,” said a union official. “They’re going to save a buck today, but tomorrow be damned.”