The early release of inmates in some parts of California is speeding up as county jails struggle to accommodate state prisoners flowing into their facilities, reports the Los Angeles Times. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department planned to begin releasing about 150 inmates Friday because of overcrowding in county jails. The move is a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring the state to lower its prison population by 30,000.
To meet the mandate, those convicted of certain crimes who until now served their sentences in state prison now must serve their time in a county jail. Up until now, San Bernardino County managed to keep its jails from overcrowding through work release and other programs. But with the system rapidly approaching capacity, the sheriff opted to make more room for new arrestees and higher-priority inmates. The parole violators being released will have their criminal and custody history examined, and they will be placed under the supervision of state parole officers. Some counties, including Los Angeles, are under court order to prevent jail overcrowding. So officials said that some inmates will be released to make way for the state prisoners.