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Supervisors Support Bill to Prevent Jail Overcrowding
By murrieta.patch.com - City News Service
Published: 04/24/2012

Murrieta, CA - The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted today to support a bill aimed at preserving local jail space by requiring that inmates sentenced to more than three years behind bars go to prison—not county jail, which current law allows.

Senate Bill 1441, introduced by Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Riverside, would amend Assembly Bill 109, the Public Safety Realignment Act, which critics say is overloading local correctional facilities with inmates serving high multi- year sentences.

Emmerson's bill would mandate that all convicted felons sentenced to more than 36 months for any one or series of offenses be sent to prison.

"We're united behind (SB 1441)," Undersheriff Colleen Walker told the board. "Every single sheriff in California is behind this."

According to Executive Office documents, as of this month, 138 inmates—or about 4 percent of the total inmate population in the county's five jails—are serving three or more years. Another 781 inmates are locked up locally due to AB 109, informally known as the "realignment" bill.

"Senator Emmerson's bill shouldn't be necessary," said Supervisor John Benoit. "The intent was when realignment occurred, longer-sentenced inmates would be put in state prisons. SB 1441 is an effort to clean that up."

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