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CA: No thieves, drug dealers, burglars in San Bernardino County jails
San Luis Obispo Tribune ^ | Oct. 26, 2005 | Associated Press

Posted on 10/26/2005 8:34:19 PM PDT by calcowgirl

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - In an effort to ease jailhouse overcrowding, Sheriff Gary Penrod has stopped booking thieves, drug dealers, burglars and other nonviolent suspects into San Bernardino County jails.

Penrod's temporary solution means drug dealers arrested with as much as 24 pounds of illegal narcotics could be set free as long as they promise to appear in court.

"As you well know, I am committed to keeping our communities as safe as possible, and it is deeply troubling to have to make these changes," Penrod wrote in an Oct. 19 memorandum announcing the change.

As part of the new policy, county jails will no longer accept most arrestees booked solely on misdemeanor charges. The jails also will turn away all suspects arrested on nonviolent felony charges as long as their bail is less than $500,000.

"The Board of Supervisors and I are looking for ways to increase our jail bed space numbers; however, our overcrowding has become so critical I must take steps to reduce the jail population or face potential action from the court," Penrod continued.

County jails in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino and Glen Helen are routinely near capacity. Rancho Cucamonga holds about 3,000 inmates, San Bernardino holds about 1,000 and Glen Helen houses about 750.

Penrod has struggled for more than a year to house all the inmates sent to him by local police departments without violating a 1998 court settlement in which the county agreed to ease crowding.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: jails; sanbernardino

1 posted on 10/26/2005 8:34:19 PM PDT by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

Just plain wacky, I tell ya.


2 posted on 10/26/2005 8:35:30 PM PDT by socal_parrot
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To: calcowgirl
Original article from San Bernardino Sun:
Crime policy eased
Jail overcrowding prompts changes
Rod Leveque, Staff Writer

In a drastic new policy that will return hundreds more thieves, drug dealers and burglars to the streets, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has stopped booking even more nonviolent criminals into county jails.

The new procedures were set in place in the last week by Sheriff Gary Penrod as a temporary solution to ease overcrowding at the county's three detention centers.

This means drug dealers arrested with as much as 24 pounds of illegal narcotics could be set free as long as they promised to appear in court.

Commercial burglars, identity thieves and sex offenders who fail to register their whereabouts with police pursuant to Megan's Law also will be booked and released.

"As you well know, I am committed to keeping our communities as safe as possible, and it is deeply troubling to have to make these changes," Penrod wrote in a memo dated Oct. 19 announcing the change. "The Board of Supervisors and I are looking for ways to increase our jail bed space numbers; however, our overcrowding has become so critical I must take steps to reduce the jail population or face potential action from the court."

As part of the new policy, county jails will no longer accept most arrestees booked solely on misdemeanor charges.

The jails also will turn away all suspects arrested on nonviolent felony charges as long as their bail is less than $500,000.

Jail workers will not consider whether arrestees have a history of failing to appear in court, or a home to go to, before releasing them, according to Penrod's memo.

On any given day, the county's three adult jails in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino and Glen Helen hover near capacity. Rancho Cucamonga holds about 3,000 inmates, San Bernardino holds about 1,000 and Glen Helen houses about 750.

Penrod has struggled for more than a year to house all the inmates sent to him by local police departments without violating a 1998 court settlement in which the county agreed to ease crowding.

The sheriff has granted early release to inmates since at least July 2004, and the new policy is an expansion of those efforts.

The previous cutoff was for nonviolent offenders with bail of less than $150,000, and Penrod estimated then he was prematurely releasing about 700 people per month.

The new cutoff of $500,000 will make far more arrestees eligible for release.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Robin Haynal would not speculate Tuesday on how many more arrestees could be released under the new policy. She stressed that the policy is only temporary and said it applies only to fresh arrests. Inmates already in jail will not be let go, she said.

She also said jail staff will evaluate each arrestee before granting a release to guarantee as much as possible that dangerous and violent criminals aren't freed.

"We're doing what we have to do at this point," Haynal said. "The sheriff is committed to keeping the community safe. That's his priority. But we have to deal with the overcrowding problem."

Several law enforcement officials on Tuesday said they are sympathetic to the sheriff's predicament, but concerned the release of criminals puts the public at risk.

"By putting these felons back on the street, it's reasonable to assume the crime rate will increase," Assistant District Attorney Mike Risley said.

Sgt. William Megenney of the Fontana Police Department said the changes may discourage officers on the streets from arresting people with outstanding warrants.

"These people aren't gong to show up to court; they aren't going to do what they are supposed to be doing," Megenney said. "It's a vicious circle between the courts and law enforcement."

Local bail agents, meanwhile, predicted the changes will cripple them.

Arrestees with mid-range bail are the bread and butter of the bail bond industry, said Patti Newcombe, president of the Inland Empire Bail Agents Association. Now all that business will be gone, she said, at the expense of bondsmen and the general public.

"This is absurd. We should all just go on vacation," Newcombe said. "We make sure people show up to court. If they don't show, we pick them up at no cost to the taxpayers. Taxpayers shouldn't be paying for cops on the street to arrest people only to let them right back out."

San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said the county has taken steps to open new jails.

A 700-bed facility is set to open in Adelanto in January, he said. And the county has been saving money to build a jail in the High Desert comparable to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

"But those things take many years to put together," he said.


3 posted on 10/26/2005 8:36:24 PM PDT by calcowgirl (CA Special Election: Yes, Yes, Yes, No, No, No, No, No!)
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To: calcowgirl

Have to make room for White Collar Criminals.


4 posted on 10/26/2005 8:37:47 PM PDT by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: calcowgirl

let me guess...all full of illegal alien criminals?


5 posted on 10/26/2005 8:41:49 PM PDT by flashbunny (What is more important: Loyalty to principles, or loyalty to personalities?)
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To: calcowgirl

Not really new....1 day in jail for a carjack in Los Angeles County...


6 posted on 10/26/2005 8:43:23 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: fat city

these people never heard of the broken window theory? Of NYC's success in bringing down its crime rate by arresting turnstile jumpers and people drinking on the street?

Mrs VS


7 posted on 10/26/2005 8:44:03 PM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: VeritatisSplendor

Hehehehe- That phase will follow the construction of the new jails and the passage of the next county jail levy. Ought to coincide with Penrod's next election campaign.


8 posted on 10/26/2005 8:51:10 PM PDT by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: calcowgirl
Sheriff Gary Penrod has stopped booking thieves, drug dealers, burglars and other nonviolent suspects into San Bernardino County jails.

Would the good Sheriff jail those responsible for shooting said thieves and burglars? If he won't keep crime under control then it is left to those who will.


10 posted on 10/27/2005 10:31:27 AM PDT by unixfox (AMERICA - 20 Million ILLEGALS Can't Be Wrong!)
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