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Alameda County Probation Chief Concerned Over Massive Early-Inmate Releases

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(CBS)

(CBS)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) — Alameda County’s chief probation officer is expressing uncertainty over the release of state prison inmates ordered by federal courts.

Ladonna Harris told a community meeting in West Oakland she was concerned about how such release would be handled, along with what could be done to lower the percentage of African American parolees who reoffend and end up back in prison.

Gov. Jerry Brown asked the courts to stay what he calls an “unprecedented order” to release nearly 10,000 prison inmates by year’s end to comply with a federal mandate on prison population.

A panel of federal judges on Thursday rejected Brown’s attempt to circumvent its long-standing order to reduce California’s prison population.

“This doesn’t make any of us feel real comfortable because we don’t know who we are going to get back and it really sort of flies in the face the agreements that we had at the outset—that we would only get the non-non-nons, so it sounds like we are going to be getting higher-risk offenders now,” Harris said.

Federal judges ordered Brown to expand good-time credits leading to early release as part of a plan to reduce prison crowding. Meanwhile, the governor has already filed notice that he intends to appeal the order to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“My expectation would be that the stay would take a look at the funding levels because the higher risk offender is going to need greater services and programs,” Harris said.

Brandon Sturdivant, of Oakland Community Organizations, said the entire neighborhood pays when parolees go back to prison.

“Incarceration causes broken families. There are families that these folks—particularly our men—leave behind that go to broken schools,” he said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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