SACRAMENTO - Corrections officials are looking to drop the arrest warrants of thousands of parole violators in an attempt to relieve overcrowding in California's state prisons and county jails and ease the workload of agents by focusing on dangerous felons, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation planned to begin a major review next week of more than 9,200 outstanding warrants of parole violators, the Los Angeles Times (http://bitly.com/RO9MR3) reported.
Starting with those convicted of nonviolent crimes and excluding sex offenders entirely, field offices will be given lists of missing felons 200 at a time to determine whether pursuing them would be in the "interest of justice."
Corrections spokesman Jeffrey Callison said the effort will weed out older, less urgent cases and allow a focus on dangerous parolees and is not a matter of allowing "some parolees to 'get off the hook.'"
"I have been told that discharging people is not the point of the exercise," Callison told the Times.
Some victims' advocates and parole officers who oppose the effort disagree.
"This is as close as just letting people go as we've come," said Todd Gillam, a parole agent in Northern California and vice president of the Parole Agent Association of California.
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, (R-Gerber), who has vocally opposed the efforts of Gov. Jerry
Nielsen said the review could mean warrants being dropped for some 70 percent of parolees, but Callison said corrections officials have no idea how many would be released from supervision.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com