Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Jail overcrowding may lead to release of Roseville drug offenders

In the coming months, Placer County residents who have been arrested and convicted of nonviolent drug crimes may be released from jail as the result of a new California law meant to remedy the persistent prison overcrowding that has plagued the state in recent years. Because most people who are convicted of nonviolent drug charges pose little threat to themselves and to the community, this will likely be a positive development for both offenders and the city, county and state.

Under the 2011 Public Safety Realignment law, which was passed in May and took effect in October, only individuals who are convicted of crimes categorized as "serious, violent or sex offenses" may be sentenced to state prison. As a result, people who would normally be sentenced to state prison for nonviolent drug crimes and other offenses must now serve their sentence at county jails. In addition, parolees who would have previously been under state supervision will now be supervised by a county or city parole officer.

Unfortunately, this does not solve the problem of overcrowding but merely shifts it to counties and cities. Placer County Jail is currently overcrowded, and will become more so when tasked with housing additional nonviolent offenders. As a result, many of these offenders will likely be released and placed under some other form of supervision.

Under a recent county law known as the 2011 Placer County Public Safety Realignment Implementation Act, the county will use an additional $3.1 million in state funding to hire additional officers. As part of a special task force, those officers will assist the county Probation Department in supervising released nonviolent offenders.

Source: The Roseville Press Tribune, "New law could land more offenders on city streets," Toby Lewis, Jan. 10, 2012

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