The number of state prisoners arriving in county jails under California’s controversial prison diversion program is significantly higher than officials had estimated, and sheriff’s departments now must figure out what to do with thousands of extra inmates, reports the Los Angeles Times. Prisoners convicted of some nonviolent crimes began serving their time in county jails last month as California complied with a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring the state to lower its prison population by 30,000. But the higher number of prisoners being transferred is prompting counties to speed up efforts to reopen shuttered jail wings and find other arrangements for some inmates.
Los Angeles County was projected to add about 600 state prisoners by now but has booked more than 900. The tally in Orange County is running more than double what the state had estimated. In Kern County, the jail system got so full last week that the Sheriff’s Department freed 50 parole violators — including thieves — because they had no jail beds for them. County jails are receiving extra state funding to help house the prisoners, but there are doubts about whether the money will be enough to avoid releasing some inmates.