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New Law Allows Early Parole Release Of Ill Inmates

A new law that takes effect in January allows very ill prison inmates to be released on parole early. The goal is to trim the corrections budget.

Democratic Senator Mark Leno wrote the legislation. He said it applies only to inmates classified as “incapacitated” and right now those inmates require expensive health care and the supervision of armed guards.

“The state auditor has identified 1,175 inmates – that’s fewer than 1 percent of our inmate population – who are costing taxpayers upwards of 200 million dollars a year,” he said.

Leno said once the inmates are released on parole, the state can access federal dollars to help pay for their health care.

The Board of Parole Hearings would have to approve the so-called “medical parole” of any inmate.

Many Republicans opposed the law. They called it an “early release” of prisoners that was unfair to crime victims.

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