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Parolees set for release

Program intends to reduce overcrowded prisons and ease budget woes.

May 06, 2010|By Megan O’Neil

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is expected to release 17 parolees in the coming months to the Crescenta-Cañada area under the state’s new early release program, according to authorities.

In a presentation to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council on Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. David Silversparre said eight parolees will be released in La Crescenta, eight in unincorporated canyon areas and one in La Cañada. There is no official timetable, Silversparre said, but he added that corrections officials believe 6,500 such parolees will be released by August.

The program was included in a bill signed into law last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger intended to reduce the state’s prison population and ease budget shortfalls.

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In order to qualify for the irrevocable parole program, prisoners or parolees must be classified as “low-risk.” They can’t be among those required to register as sex offenders, have convictions for violent felonies, have serious discipline records while in prison or be connected to a gang.

If accepted into the program, the parolees would not be subject to the supervision of a parole officer. They do not have to provide updated information such as a residential address or employment and cannot be returned to custody for parole violations. They are subject to search conditions, however, and can be returned to custody on a new charge.

The bill was strongly opposed by law enforcement agencies, victims’ rights organizations and legislators, including Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), who warned of unforeseen consequences. An effort, led by Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), is underway to repeal the law.

“I am not happy with the number of folks who are getting released and the lack of oversight,” Portantino said.

Despite legal limitations, sheriff’s deputies will conduct some monitoring of the parolees, Silversparre said.

“What’s happening here is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is actually taking a leadership role in how we are going to address the non-revocable parolees,” Silversparre said. “We are going to receive information from the state as to who is being released, and we are going to make contact with the non-revocable parolees.”

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