RIVERSIDE – Over 27,000 inmates would be released under a tentative plan stated in the latest California state budget. Prisoners with 12 months or less on their sentences would serve the remainder of their time on home detention with electronic monitoring. The California Department of Corrections says they won’t release violent prisoners. Others like Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco aren’t as confident.
“They’re breaking into people’s homes. They’re stealing property. These are serious folks that end up in state prision,” Pacheco says. “They can call them ‘non-violent’ all they want but it’s only designed to sell their product.”
The plan includes a proposal by the governor to change some felonies to misdemeanors so inmates would go to jails, like the Robert Presely Detention Center, instead of state prisons. Pacheco worries the move would further crowded county jails and diminish victims’ rights.
“They’re, in effect, balancing the budget on the backs of future vicitms. Somebody gets their property stolen…somebody to save money,” says Pacheco.
Of the more than a third of the state’s parole population, 46,000 parolees would be without supervision. The state figures to save more than a billion dollars on the early releases. Others believe there are better ways to save on money.’
“It will cost more in the long run,” says Palm Desert resident Stan Homola. “They’ll put them back in again.”
“I know deep cuts need to be made but I’m not sure releasing the prisioners is the right way to do it,” says John Ferber, visiting the Valley from San Diego.
Stay tuned to News Channel 3 and KESQ.com for the latest on the state budget struggles in Sacramento.