More today on the issue of prisons and local jails. Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze issued a special statement to try to help people here understand the seriousness of the state budget deficit and pressures on county jails.
Sheriff Lutze said that “The Governor’s budget proposal dumps inmates from overcrowded prisons into overcrowded jails with no solution contemplated.” The Sheriff said that in addition to state prison inmates dumped into county jails, an assembly bill which was supposed to help increase local jail capacity is bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.
Last month a measure took effect which increased sentencing credit for jail inmates and requires parole violators to face new prosecution and increased time in county jail rather than returning to state prison. Last February, the State switched funding sources for many local law enforcement programs from the general fund to vehicle license fees. Sheriff Lutze said those fees have come in 27% under budget projections.
Lutze said the State is “putting their debt on the backs of the citizens and taxpayers of Inyo County without any type of reimbursement.” The Sheriff said the budget situation may cause his department to reconsider some services.
This statement amounts to a heads up to the local population about problems in law enforcement and a plea to the Governor to carefully weigh what Sheriff Lutze calls “fiscal benefit against public safety impact before making further changes this year.”