FRESNO, Calif. — At least one in five inmates released early from Fresno County Jail over the past year already has landed back behind bars for crimes including murder and assault.
From Sept. 2, 2008, through Aug. 20, at least 53 inmates released early from the jail -- or 20% of all early releases -- have been booked again on suspicion of other charges, an analysis by The Fresno Bee shows. The analysis used records of jail releases and bookings, obtained from the Sheriff's Office, and did not count those who may have been arrested outside Fresno County or merely cited.
Probation violations, drug possession and disorderly conduct were the most common charges, but some early-release inmates also have been arrested for violent crime such as robbery. For instance, one of the suspects in the July murders of a Kerman couple was released early days before their deaths.
A federal court order requires the jail to release inmates when it reaches capacity, and other California counties also release inmates early to relieve overcrowding. But the practice has drawn extra criticism here because Sheriff Margaret Mims promised in her 2006 campaign to not allow early releases.
Mims said she hasn't been able to keep the pledge because of the recession, which has deprived her of the money needed to run the jail.
Read the full story at fresnobee.com.