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Really Bad Mistake

San Andreas, CA — Those were the words of Calaveras County Sheriff Dennis Downum regarding the release of 65-hundred prisoners from the state prison system.

The release program started Monday from California’s 33 penal institutions. Stated Downum, “At the time that local agencies are losing resources to have those folks dumped on us is just going to increase the problem. There are already 22 local jails in California that have court ordered capacity limits and we’re already overflowing and we’re throwing people out every day and with the change they’re suggesting if anyone was sentenced to over a year they would go to state prison. Now they’re talking about just leaving them at the county level but there’s just no room.”

On what may transpire when these inmates are freed, “We’re sending them back into the same environment they came from with absolutely no rehabilitative efforts and California has about a 70 percent recidivism rate so you can make the assumption pretty easily that 70 percent of those people they’re letting out will be rearrested in fairly short order. Unfortunately they’re going to be sitting in county jails that have no room instead of a state prison.”

This weekend Downum, Calaveras County District Attorney Jeff Tuttle and Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele will on Mother Lode Views discuss this “early release” program that the state is hoping will help reduce the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget by $1.2 billion.

Written by bill.johnson@mlode.com