More jail inmates in Los Angeles County are being set free after serving only a fraction of their sentences because of budget problems and a space crunch caused by an influx of offenders now serving their terms in county jails rather than state prisons.
The releases are benefiting even inmates sentenced to jail for violence and sex crimes, with those offenders released after serving as little as 40% of the time they were meant to spend behind bars, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records obtained by The Times under the California Public Records Act.
Other criminals are serving even shorter stints. Under the department’s current policy, jailers immediately release male inmates sentenced to fewer than 90 days and female offenders sentenced to fewer than 240 days.
This year, the Sheriff’s Department has released more than 23,000 inmates before their jail terms were up, a sharp increase over recent years. During all of 2012, the county released 26,000 inmates early, according to department records. In 2011, the number was about 15,700.
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