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Jul 2009
What are they thinking?
LAPPL Board of Directors

For the past 2 ½ months, the League has been warning of the dire consequences of early releases of inmates from state prisons. There have been multiple membership alerts, press releases and other communications. We have implored lawmakers to look elsewhere for budget savings. Putting felons back on the streets risks reversing the significant crime reduction trend in Los Angeles and end up costing taxpayers much more money than such a budget maneuver would ever hope to save.

Within the past 24 hours, we became even more alarmed when reliable sources in Sacramento told us legislative leadership was poised to put forth a state budget that would require mass early release of felons. To achieve the magnitude of the savings needed using this ill-conceived approach, some 20,000 inmates would be released across the state. Many of them would return to the streets of L.A.

Make no mistake: Because Los Angeles and 32 other California counties are at their court-ordered capacity caps, “early release” amounts to commuting sentences and putting criminals back on the streets!

Early release programs are a disaster. According to a study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), early release budget cuts are a dangerous “shell game.” The BJS study found that the vast majority of early releases (about 70%) recidivate within three years, and the majority of those arrests occur within 12 months! Even worse, 1 in 5 prisoners is re-arrested for a violent crime, including murder!

So once again we have turned to our membership and our other supporters in an urgent bid to get early releases of prisoners off the budget balancing table in Sacramento. We asked them to call their lawmakers and tell them the dire public safety consequences of a mass early release of felons from state prisons. If you have not already done so, pick up the phone and let the lawmakers know you're paying attention and expect them to put public safety first.



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