California Criminal Justice Changes Stir Debate Over Safety


As Gov. Jerry Brown seeks re-election next month, Republicans say decisions he made to reduce prison overcrowding are endangering the public by putting more criminals on the streets.

About 13,000 inmates a month are being released early from crowded county jails while they await trial or before they complete their full sentences.

More than 5,000 state prisoners had earlier releases this year because of federal court orders, legislation signed by the governor and a recently approved state ballot initiative.

Yet those statistics don't tell the full story.

Crime rates dropped last year across all categories of violent and property offenses.

Meanwhile, county officials say they are doing their best to make the state's 3-year-old policy shift work, in part by devoting more of their staff and money to rehabilitation programs.g

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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