Los Angeles News
L.A. County supervisor concerned about inmate realignment
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Concerns are being raised over the possible release of a potentially dangerous inmate due to jail overcrowding.
One particular offender has raised concerns. The offender in question has been housed at the maximum-security state Folsom and Atascadero prisons. L.A. County officials have reviewed the inmate's rap sheet and say he needs to be in a state mental health hospital, not a local facility.
It's a question of safety, say Los Angeles County officials. Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar has units that can hold a mental health detainee for 72 hours. But it cannot hold a state prison inmate with a violent history who is set to arrive on Friday.
"A violent sex predator, convicted of rape with violence, with assault, also with attempted rape another time, and having arson in his background," said L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
Antonovich is sending a blast in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown to close what he says is a loophole in a new prison reform law known as "realignment."
Realignment is designed to transfer low-level offenders in state prisons to local jails and facilities to alleviate prison overcrowding and improve medical conditions for inmates. The order complies with a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The decision requires the state to decrease its prison population by 30,000.
Antonovich says the glitch is that if the most recent crime committed by the inmate is non-violent, the inmate is eligible for transfer, regardless of his previous record of violent offenses.
That, says Antonovich, puts the community in danger and costs the county plenty.
"If he attacks an employee, if he attacks another patient, we assume 100 percent liability," said Antonovich.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says the individual in question has served his time and can be adequately supervised by probation agents.
"The counties are supervising offenders every day on probation, and these offenders are in their communities now, so it's not a large change," said Terri McDonald, Dept. of Corrections.
But it is a large change, according the chief of psychiatry at Olive View, who alerted Antonovich. He says maximum-security patients, even though they have served their terms, are not safe candidates for programs here.
"Our local probation officers are not armed," said Antonovich. "State probation officers are armed. They want to find a place for him, get a chair in the governor's office or in the state legislature, but not in our neighborhoods."
Supervisors have authorized staff to review possible legal actions to stop the transfer. The inmate is schedule to arrive in Sylmar at Olive View on Friday.
los angeles news, miriam hernandez
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