The new California law allowing earlier-than-usual release of some low-risk offenders remains under fire, says National Public Radio. Some legislators say it was not intended to be applied to county jail inmates, whom some sheriffs have been releasing. A judge yesterday ordered Sacramento County to stop releasing jail inmates.
Stanford law professor Joan Petersilia says the new law is good public policy. “You have to remember that this was passed by a very conservative legislature and a tough-on-crime governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger,” she said. “And it was recommended by the three previous governors.” Within a year, California will reduce its prison population by about 6,500 inmates. Petersilia says only non-violent offenders who meet criteria for good behavior will be eligible. State officials hope a go-slow approach will help avoid controversy like the one seen this week.