Courts & Crime

California to release more inmates after judge rescinds earlier order

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department will resume early releases of jail inmates as soon as today in response to yet another order from a Sacramento judge over the state's new parole reform law.

The latest order from Judge Loren E. McMaster was issued at 9:02 a.m. Tuesday and essentially throws out his order from last week that temporarily halted early releases for county inmates.

The judge wrote in his latest order that he was dissolving the temporary restraining order because inmates had a right to be heard on the matter.

"While county jail inmates may not be indispensable parties in the technical sense, they are real parties in interest since the resolution of this matter directly affects them and their status," the judge wrote.

The latest legal wrangling added to the general confusion over a new state law that aims to reduce the state's prison population by 6,300 inmates this year, both through parole changes and by increasing good-time credit opportunities for some inmates.

Counties the length of the state have interpreted the good-time credit portion of the new law to apply also to their jail inmates. Before passage of SB X3 18, county jail inmates could shave one-third of the time off their sentences if they followed the rules and stayed out of trouble. In their interpretation of the new law, Sacramento and 20 other counties upped the good-time credit to 50 percent of a prisoner's term.

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