The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has released about 200 inmates from its jail in Castaic in an attempt to shave money from its ailing budget. The release has nothing to do with a statewide "parole reform" program that has seen inmates in other counties go free earlier than expected.
"The significant reduction of inmates in the North Facility will save us $26 million," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Weekly. This week's early release is "just a part of the reduction of the inmate population in that one facility," he said.
Whitmore said many of the inmates released this week were "the least violent offenders" at Castaic and walked with about 50 percent of time served compared to the department's usual 80-percent floor for releases.
Sheriff Lee Baca is aiming to trim his budget by nine percent. Whitmore said the department needs to cut a total of about $128 million dollars from its budget. Along with early inmate releases, deputy overtime will also be slashed.