Short-Term Jails Turning into Long-Term Stays
Courts said California prisons were too crowded. The state's answer was to pass AB109.
As of October 1st, non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders are being sent to county jails instead of prison.
Some prisoners will call county jail home for a long time.
Before AB 109 the longest stay was one year.
Since October 1st, more than 40 men and women have been sentenced to multiple years in jail. Some will stay as long as 14 years.
La Quinta resident, Joan Parker says that's not right. "County jails are for the short term, not long term. It's a tough call but temporary, but 14 years no, no way, can you imagine, I mean the place will fill up in maybe a week!"
Riverside County has 3,904 jail beds. They are 87 percent full.
Chief Deputy Jerry Gutierrez said, "When you're dealing a more longer term inmate, we're dealing with more needs for rehabilitation, more needs for medical resources. The biggest impact is the compounding effect of month after month the overflow and dealing with that."
Riverside County jail officials estimate that by January 2012 they will be out of beds for new inmates.
Desert resident, Mike Casey said, "They'll probably do what they've done in the past they'll start letting out people much earlier or not even sentence them to jail."
College of the Desert student, Devein Baldwin said there is a different answer to the overcrowding. "We should focus more on building more rehabilitation centers than building more jails."
Jail officials say once they reach capacity they will have three options: house arrest, contract with the Department of Corrections to take inmates else where, or the last resort--federal release of prisoners.
We asked who's this is going to end up costing.
Chief Deputy Gutierrez said, "Well it's going to end up costing the taxpayer obviously, the way it works right now is the state of California has allocated monies to each county."
Those funds will only last for nine months.
It costs a little over 100 dollars a day to house an inmate in a Riverside County jail. Now some prisoners will have an extended stay of thousands of days.