View Mobile Site

Jails to see 250 more inmates than forecast

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED July 5, 2012 10:31 p.m.



 

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Nearly 250 more criminals will serve their time in county jails instead of state prisons each year under a new California law, a sharp increase from the state's original projections, corrections officials said Thursday.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had miscalculated the effect of changing where some criminals serve their time, said department spokesman Jeffrey Callison.

Republican lawmakers complained that the shift that took effect last month will send more offenders to local lockups for felonies involving weapons. They said that violates of the state's promise to keep those convicted of violent and other serious crimes in state prisons.

The corrections department originally estimated that just two more criminals each year would shift to local jails for weapons possession and other crimes under the new law. The projections were reflected in an Associated Press story published June 30.

The department now says 247 more criminals would serve their sentences in local jails instead of state prisons under the new law.

Callison described the miscalculation of the effect on local jails as an accidental error by the department's research office. The lower number also was cited by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, as he defended the shift.

"That number is still relatively small relative to the total number of offenders," Callison said in an email disclosing the error.

The population of the state's 33 adult prisons has dropped by more than 40,000 inmates since October, when the state began sending thousands of criminals to county jails in response to court orders requiring a reduction in overcrowding at state prisons.

The law enacted last month as part of the new state budget shifted 10 crimes back to state prisons, including several involving child sex offenses or seriously injuring a peace officer. The department projected that would affect about 10 criminals each year. Callison could not immediately say if researchers also miscalculated that estimate.

The AP first reported in October that at least two dozen offenses moving to local control could be considered serious or violent.

The additional crimes that will now bring jail sentences instead of prison time under the new law include possession of certain explosives, various knives and exotic weapons, as well as check fraud and defrauding the state's food stamp program.

Officials said they were merely fixing a drafting error, and that those categories of crimes should have resulted in jail time under the original realignment law that took effect last year.

 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...