State Eyes Returning Inmates to S.B.

Roughly 570 prison inmates could be released to Santa Barbara County earlier than scheduled if the ruling of three federal judges holds on the inadequate and dangerously overcrowded state of the state’s prison system. The judicial panel ruled that California prison inmates are subjected to sub-par medical treatment as a result of prison overcrowding and ordered state prison officials to release from 37,500 to 57,500 inmates. The judges contended this release would not imperil public safety and that it could save the state up to $900 million. Attorney General Jerry Brown and the state’s prison chief have decried the ruling, contending the federal courts have no business meddling in state affairs and that the remedy would release individuals that pose a danger to the citizens of the state. Because Santa Barbara County accounts for roughly one percent of the state’s population, law enforcement officials estimate it accounts for one percent of the prison population. If a proportionate number of inmates are released early to Santa Barbara, local probation officials-already understaffed-would find themselves scrambling to accommodate up to 570 new parolees.

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