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December 21, 2007

Inmate release plan may make Governor Schwarzenegger "Last Prison Hero"

11svhvnn9tlAs detailed in this article from The Sacramento Bee, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to be proposing "the largest early release of inmates in U.S. history."  Here are the particulars:

According to details of a budget proposal made available to The Sacramento Bee, the administration will ask the Legislature to authorize the release of certain nonserious, nonviolent, non-sex offenders who are in the final 20 months of their terms.

The proposal would cut the prison population by 22,159 inmates and save the cash-strapped state an estimated $256 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1 and more than $780 million through June 30, 2010. The proposal also calls for a reduction of more than 4,000 prison jobs, most of them involving correctional officers.  A gubernatorial spokesman said no final decisions had been made.

The administration, which is looking at across-the-board budget cuts to stem a budget deficit pegged as high as $14 billion, is looking for more savings by shifting lower-risk parolees into what officials describe as a "summary" parole system. Such a shift also would require legislative approval.

This story is more evidence, of course, of how economic realities can serve as the most effective and urgent catalyst for sentencing reforms.  Disconcertingly, had Schwarzenegger's administration done a better job managing prison growth since he became governor, this new extreme release solution would likely not be needed.  This story also puts into perspective the over-wrought hand-wringing by some about the much small number of federal crack offenders that might be released nationwide each year as a result of the US Sentencing Commission's new crack guidelines.

December 21, 2007 at 09:55 AM | Permalink

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» Summary Parole: CA Eyes Releasing 20,000 Prisoners Early to Ease Budget Crunch from Drug Law Blog
California Gov. Schwarzenegger is proposing releasing 20,000 low-risk prison inmates early, but the release of those inmates would be subject so search and seizure waivers under a form of summary parole.The plan would cut the prison population by 22,15... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 21, 2007 10:31:43 AM

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