Sacramento County sheriff warns of early jail releases if budget is cut
Brad Branan, Sac Bee, June 12, 2012If Sacramento County supervisors approve a proposed $10.7 million budget cut, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said Monday that he would release 540 inmates early from local jails.
Jones said he would have no choice but to release inmates early – the first time in at least the 20 years he's been with the department – because he would have to lay off 36 correctional deputies.
"I really don't want to release inmates early; it goes against the core of my being," Jones told the Board of Supervisors during the start of hearings for the county's proposed 2012-13 budget.
The county's $3.5 billion budget proposal contains a $60 million deficit for all departments. Supervisors will be looking for ways this week to fill holes in the budgets of the sheriff and District Attorney's Office, which is facing a $2.2 million deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Jones said he doesn't know what types of offenders he would release early from the jails, as the department is just starting to look at the possibility. He said the releases certainly would not be done all at once, and would be done in consultation with other law enforcement agencies.
The correctional layoffs would handle about half of the sheriff's proposed deficit, Jones said. The other half would be handled through the layoff of 37 deputies in patrol services, which handles crime response and investigations.
The department would ...