Los Angeles County supervisors yesterday condemned Sacramento’s cost-cutting decision to keep some state prisoners in local lockups and have parolees be supervised by county agencies, asserting that both would lead to an increase in crime, reports the Los Angeles Times. Supervisor Michael Antonovich expects county jails to run out of space quickly if they must continue to handle the 7,000 low-level felons that courts normally send to state prison each year. The already-strained county Probation Department will also see an increase in probationers it must oversee.
“It’s a system that’s meant to fail,” Antonovich said, “and who is it going to fail? Every neighborhood, every community where these people are going to be running around [ ] It’s a Pandora’s box. It’s the bar scene — a violent bar scene that you saw in ‘Star Wars’ — except they’re all crazy and nuts.” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky noted that the problem started when state legislators decided “to dump their financial woes on us. This is going to impact crime adversely in communities, without a doubt.” Because of the state’s continuing budget and prison overcrowding crisis, on Oct. 1 California will begin shifting some low-level nonviolent offenders from the state prison and parole system to its 58 county jails and probation departments.