Monday, October 22 , 2018, 10:33 pm | Fair 58º


County Jail Forced to Release 71 Inmates Early

New state guidelines raise the credit received for good behavior

The Santa Barbara County Jail system released 71 inmates Monday under new state guidelines that give inmates more credit for good behavior.

The changes, intended to reduce prison overcrowding in California’s state prisons, apply to all inmates, including those in county jail facilities.

Under the old guidelines, inmates with good behavior were given one-third day credit for each full day served. Changes made to Section 4019 of the California Penal Code now give one half-day credit for good behavior.

As a result, 22 inmates were released from the Santa Barbara County Jail when the rules took effect Monday. Another 49 inmates in the jail’s Alternative Sentencing Program were released from electronic monitoring and the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program. By the end of the month, the county jail expects to release 128 inmates — 50 from the jail and 78 from alternative sentencing.

The new state requirements don’t apply to violent felons or registered sex offenders.

“These early releases hamper our ability to provide for the public’s safety,” Sheriff Bill Brown said. “These convicted criminals, who should be serving their sentences in jail, will now be back on the streets with the potential to reoffend. The early releases undermine confidence in the criminal justice system by sending the wrong message to the criminal element.”

At the beginning of the day, there were 980 inmates in the county jail system and an 200 inmates taking part in the Alternative Sentencing program.

Click here for a Noozhawk series examining Santa Barbara County’s custody operations, including the county jail and substations, inmate services programs and the Los Prietos Boys Camp.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.


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