Los Angeles County’s jails could run out of space as early as next month because of an influx of state prisoners, raising the possibility of releasing potentially thousands of inmates awaiting trial, the Los Angeles Times reports. California’s new prison law, which establishes a practice known as realignment, is expected to send as many as 8,000 offenders who would normally go to state prisons into the L.A. County Jail system in the next year.
Defendants awaiting trial account for 70 percent of the jail population, but Sheriff Lee Baca said that might need to drop to 50 percent. The department is studying a major expansion of its electronic monitoring and home detention programs to keep track of inmates who are released. Baca said the department is developing a new risk-assessment system designed to better identify which inmates are the best candidates to leave the jails. The department is looking at ways to channel more offenders into education and substance abuse treatment programs rather than jail.