Forget good behavior, 540 inmates in Sacramento could be released early from local jails, thanks to a proposed $10.7 million budget cut for the Sheriff’s Department.
A stern warning from Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones who told the county supervisors, he’d have to lay off 36 correctional deputies, if the cuts are approved—that means fewer bodies to man the jails, so releasing inmates early would be the only option.
“I really don’t want to release inmates early; it goes against the core of my being,” Jones told the Board of Supervisors during the start of hearings for the county’s proposed 2012-13 budget.
The county is in its fifth straight year of budget cuts. The $3.5 billion budget proposal has a $60 million deficit across the board, so maintaining existing services appears unlikely. This now becomes a game of balance for the board to prioritize cuts and spending.
Jones told the Sac Bee, he doesn’t know what types of offenders he’d release early from the jails, but they’d be done all at once.
A hit in the corrections department is just the start. The other half of the proposed deficit would be seen in patrol services where 37 deputies would be laid off. Those deputies respond to crimes and handle investigations.
What does this mean? The sheriff laid it all out—the department would have to stop responding to certain crimes like burglaries, as well as cut down on the number of patrols. Less patrols means less saturation.
Besides the Sheriff’s department, the district attorney and other county departments are seeing a 25% loss of funding, that’s about 4,000 jobs.
You can bet residents will cause a raucous over this—wouldn’t you be concerned about your safety too? Their concerns could be enough to make the board change their minds as one supervisor said, “public safety is the basic role of government. If we don’t provide for that adequately, nothing else will fall into place.”
Well put supervisor, but do the other board members agree? We’ll see when the budget is finalized, we’re told that could be any time this week, as the board is holding deliberations every day.