Local News

Jan 26, 2010 11:57 PM by Stacy Daniel

New state guidelines for convicts means less jail time

New state guidelines are giving inmates, what some people say, is a get out of jail free card.

The new guidelines give inmates more credit for good behavior. Just this week 22 inmates in the Santa Barbara County Jail have been released early. Another ten were freed early from the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

The new state guidelines do not apply to violent criminals or sex offenders. Do the crime you'll do some time, but how much depends, thanks to new state guidelines that are forcing jails to release inmates early. It's all an effort to reduce overcrowding in California's state prisons but it applies to all inmates, including those serving time in county jail. San Luis Obispo County Chief Sheriff's Deputy, Martin Basti says,"What it means for those that are here on misdemeanors, non-felonies and non-sex offenses, it means that their time in custody will be shortened."

The move is getting a mixed reaction. San Luis Obispo County resident, Charlene Gier says, "It's pretty scary that these people will be out roaming the street but at the same time I also know that there are plenty of people already out on the street but I definitely don't believe that it's a good tax saving measure." SLO County Resident, Jim Homer says, "There's a lot of criminals running free that haven't been caught so I don't think it's going to affect it one way or another."

Under the new guidelines, serious offenders will still be given two days credit for every six days served. Lesser offenders will be given two days credit for every four days they spend in jail. Basti says, "It's not a mass release and it's not a release of dangerous or violent persons. It's those who completed their time on misdemeanors and they're being released on an average of ten days early from their sentence." Critics say letting inmates out of county jail early is just a way to make room for the offenders who will be released from prison by the state. Critics also say if inmates don't serve their full sentences they're more likely to re-offend. Currently there are 1,130 inmates at the Santa Barbara County Jail. In San Luis Obispo County, there are 523 inmates.

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