Sex offenders, violent inmates released early
In 2013 alone, the Sheriff’s Department has released more than 23,000 inmates before their jail terms were up, a sharp increase over recent years. During all of 2012, the county released 26,000 inmates early, according to department records. In 2011, the number was about 15,700.
The question is why are these inmates being released before their sentience time is up? A budget squeeze after the economic downturn of the late part of the last decade left the department without the money to keep open some sections of the county’s jails. Meanwhile, dramatic changes in sentencing laws have shifted the burden of housing thousands of offenders convicted in Los Angeles County from state prison to county detention facilities, putting more pressure on what was already the largest local jail system in the nation.
The early releases have raised concerns among some on the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Gloria Molinaaccused Sheriff Lee Baca of cutting the time inmates serve “willy-nilly” and of failing to explain his rationale to the board. In an interview Friday, Molina said the early releases do a disservice to the victims of crime.
The releases are benefiting even inmates sentenced to jail for violence and sex crimes, with those offenders released after serving as little as 40% of the time they were meant to spend behind bars, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records obtained by The Times under the California Public Records Act.