L.A. County Sheriff May Switch To Risk-Based Release System


The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is considering a new system for deciding which jail inmates get released early by making predictions about who is most likely to commit new crimes, says the Los Angeles Times. It would be a significant shift for the largest U.S. jail system, which determines when inmates are released by the seriousness of their most recent offense and the percentage of the sentence they’ve served.

Officials say the system has weaknesses because it does not take into account the inmate’s full record, including serious crimes that occurred years ago. Supporters argue the change would help select inmates for early release who are less likely to commit new crimes. It might also raise some eyebrows. An older offender convicted of a single serious crime, such as child molestation, might be labeled lower-risk than a younger inmate with numerous property and drug convictions. A risk-based release system is “the smart way to do it,” said interim Sheriff John Scott. “I think the percentage (system) leaves a lot to be desired.)

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