California plans to drop warrants for some parole violators

Officials will begin reviewing more than 9,200 warrants in an effort to ease the burden being passed on to counties in July.

Mule Creek State Prison

Crowded conditions can be seen at Mule Creek State Prison. The warrant review aims to help keep crowding from worsening. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / August 29, 2007)



By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times

State corrections officials are poised to drop the arrest warrants of thousands of parole violators, releasing them from state supervision at a time when their detention would complicate efforts to ease crowding in state and county lockups.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation intends to begin a massive review next week of more than 9,200 outstanding warrants, starting with individuals who were convicted of nonviolent crimes and absconded from supervision. Over the next eight months, parole field offices across the state will be given lists of missing felons, 200 at a time, to review and determine if retaining them on parole “would not be in the interest of justice.”

The mass purge is an attempt to ease the burden on counties in July, when the state hands off responsibility for parole revocations to local courts, said agency spokesman Jeffrey Callison. Weeding out cases that are years old, or of parolees nobody is looking for, will make it easier to focus on those who pose a threat, he said.

It will not, Callison said, “allow some paroles to ‘get off the hook.’ ”

“I have been told that discharging people is not the point of the exercise,” he said Friday.

Which is exactly the claim of some victims’ advocates who are infuriated by the state’s so-called warrant review project.

“It’s mass amnesty for felons,” said Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), a vocal opponent of Gov. Jerry Brown‘s plans to ease state prison crowding by shifting responsibility for low-level offenders to counties.

When inmates are released from state prison, they are required to report to a parole officer. When a felon does not appear, or disappears later, an arrest warrant is issued. With low-level offenders now serving time in county jails, the state’s parole population is shrinking dramatically because those released from jail go to county probation, not state parole.

Continue Reading @ LA Times



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