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150 parolees missing

After state prison realignment, 150 released prisoners remain unaccounted for

Posted: October 10, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 10, 2012 7:06 a.m.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich used a recent news story to describe his feelings on Gov. Jerry Brown’s prison realignment plan.

A man, a registered sex offender, allegedly broke into a house ... while wearing an electronic tracking bracelet. Antonovich believes this proves one thing: The realignment system is broken.

“We’re trying to put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “The pig is a pig. This is a dog, it is a bad law.”

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors received a one-year update on realignment, which began Oct. 1, 2011. The plan transfers so-called non-non-nons, inmates whose crimes were non-violent, non-serious and non-sexual in nature, from state to county facilities. The move was in part a cost-cutting maneuver for the state, which was able to transfer the costs of housing and managing prisoners away from the state and to counties.

The L.A. County probation system saw an influx of 9,750 transfers, 59 percent of which were classified as “high risk,” according to Jerry Powers, the county’s chief probation officer. Of that 9,750, 990 never showed up to a probation hub as they were directed. Of those, 150 have still yet to be located by the county.      

Powers also said that many of the inmates transferred into the county probation system came without conditions on their sentence. This means many are not tailed, nor are they searched or monitored for illegal activity.

On the jail side of the issue, the problem is not tracking down people, it’s finding a place to hold them all.

Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo said inmates received as a result of realignment have pushed the county jail population just north of 19,000 inmates in a system with a total capacity of around 22,700.

Rhambo said he plans on the jail population to continue growing steadily, albeit at a slow rate. This is because the rate at which transfers enter the system is almost entirely offset by the rate at which they are released.

While another report will be presented to the supervisors in November, Supervisor Gloria Molina said she was dissatisfied with the current report, which she called contradictory and likened to an Abbott and Costello comedy routine.

“Comprehensive data, not little bits and pieces, that’s what we need,” Molina said.



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