A California sheriff blasted Governor Gavin Newsom for leaving the state’s prison system in “complete disarray” and allowing convicted criminals to be released early.
“He has an agenda to close prisons and there is nothing going to stop him from doing that,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco told Fox News. “He’s let thousands and thousands of criminals, hardened criminals, out early.”
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California’s prisons held roughly 122,000 inmates in 2019 when Newsom took office. That year, the Democrat told The Fresno Bee he would like to shut down a state prison during his tenure.
So far, he’s closed one prison and three more are scheduled to shutter within the next two years, according to CalMatters. The state’s prison population has plummeted more than 20% to 95,610 inmates due to sentencing reforms and a flood of releases during the pandemic.
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Bianco said his office was recently notified that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation plans to release several convicted murderers into Riverside County.
“Three murderers that are in prison for murder, that are supposed to be there for life, and [Newsom] is going to release them back into our community,” Bianco said.
Neither the governor’s office nor the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation immediately responded to a request for comment.
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Bianco said closing prisons is the “wrong thing to do” for the law-abiding public.
“All you have to do is look out the window and see that we’re being victimized constantly,” he said.
A recent study comparing suspects who posted bail in California with those released under “Zero Bail” policies found that the latter group reoffended more often and were accused of more violent crimes.
“The amount of repeat offenders right now is just ridiculous,” Bianco said. “They’re victimizing other people. They’re killing other people. They’re stealing from other people.”
Last month, a released convict allegedly gunned down a 24-year-old officer in California.
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Bianco said lawmakers and Newsom refuse to acknowledge the issue, putting police and the community at risk.
“They are bent, hell-bent on an agenda and nothing will change that agenda,” he said. “And so the jails and the prison systems are suffering for it.”
To hear more about the impacts of California’s criminal justice policies on law enforcement, click here.
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