Sonora, CA — While the Associated Press reported Wednesday that violent criminals are being involved in the Early Release program, Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele states that is not happening in his backyard.
The Early Release program was established by the state to reduce to cost of housing prisoners within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (C.D.C.R.).
When it comes to releasing prisoners from the Tuolumne County Jail Mele says prisoners will be released on a stricter basis than that maintained by the state. Prisoners are released in the following order; non-violent misdemeanors, non-violent felons, violent misdemeanors and finally violent felons.
Non-violent misdemeanors would include traffic violators. Non-violent felons would, for example, be a theft or check fraud case. A violent misdemeanor could involve a domestic violence. Violent felons would be those involved in murder and rape.
The Tuolumne County Jail traditionally has in the neighborhood of 140 prisoners on a daily basis. Several beds are set aside for prisoners (child molesters, gang members) that must be segregated from the general population.
Mele continues to maintain that it just doesn’t make sense to try and balance the state budget at the expense of the the criminal justice system.
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