Staff and wire reports — Tulare County is among several counties that are confounding the state’s court-ordered efforts to sharply reduce its inmate population by sending state prisons far more convicts than anticipated, including a record number of people with second felony convictions.
The surge in offenders requiring state prison sentences is undermining a nearly 3-year-old law pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation restructured California’s criminal justice system to keep lower-level felons in county jails while reserving state prison cells for serious, violent and sexual offenders.
The law initially reduced the state prison population by 25,000 inmates and brought it close to the level demanded by a special panel of three federal judges who ruled that a reduction in crowding was the best way to improve treatment of inmates.
But the inmate population is rising again, led by a record increase in the number of second felony convictions for those who already had a prior conviction for a serious crime.
Lloyd Hicks, Tulare County’s presiding judge, says local law enforcement are in no way trying to sabotage the state’s realignment law and says a variety of factors may be resulting in the increase of second-strikers being sent to prison. continue reading...