Ruling Could Lead to Local Jail Overcrowding

inyo_county_jail.jpgA three-judge panel ruled that a suit brought by California State Prison inmates has merit. The ruling agrees that the prisoners do not receive adequate health care because of overcrowding. The ruling requires the release of 40,000 to 56,000 prisoners. Locally, Inyo and Mono Sheriffs say this will have an impact on our jails.

Mono Sheriff Rick Scholl said that inmates released from state prisons will go back to the county in which they were sentenced. Sheriff Scholl said the Mono County Jail is already overcrowded. The last facility update was 20 years ago when the jail housed 10 to 12 prisoners. Now, the number is close to 40.

Sheriff Scholl has talked to the Mono Supervisors about this issue. He said he will probably develop an early release or work release program.

Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze said that two immediate impacts will result from a release of thousands of inmates – the fact that they are on the streets and the potential for their return to the counties where they were sentenced. Additionally, if defendants are sentenced to state prison, they will likely go to local jail instead.

Inyo County Jail faces a crowded situation. Sheriff Lutze said that the jail normally houses inmate numbers in the high 80s or low 90s. The capacity is 96.

Lutze did say that the Appeals Court ruling has now been appealed to the State Supreme Court. An effort to stall the release of inmates is also underway.

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