Two men arrested in the stabbing of an El Monte store clerk last month had been were on parole — one was later put on probation — and could be considered the kind of “non-violent, low-level offender” now being unleashed as part of the state's budget-minded “parole reform” that would release as many as 21,000 prisoners over the next two years.

According to court and county jail records, suspect Allen Tran had been released on parole earlier in December before being placed on probation Dec. 17 for identity theft. The second suspect in the case, Johhny Ngo, had been released on parole Dec. 20, 2008 after serving time for petty theft with prior convictions. Both suspects were on active parole when they were arrested in connection with the stabbing.

Police allege that one of the men stabbed a clerk at Ted's Quality Market in El Monte Dec. 26. Tran, 28, showed up the night of the stabbing at County-USC Medical Center, where the victim was being treated.

Police were on the look out for him and arrested him in the hospital parking lot as he drove up in a car — a 1991 Acura Legend — described by witnesses as being a getaway vehicle used by both suspects.

Ngo, 29, had been arrested the next day. Both men were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been peddling his prisoner release program as “simply reform, parole reform,” and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matthew Cate said it was all about “improving public safety in California.”

The release plan creates “a system of 'summary' or 'non-revocable' parole for certain low-risk parolees,” according to a CDCR statement. “These low-risk parolees will be subject to standard parole search and seizure conditions but will not be subject to traditional parole supervision upon their release from prison. This creates a $100 million savings while allowing agents to focus their attention on higher-risk parolees deemed more of a risk to the public.”

Cops, the city and even some gang-interventionists are preparing for the worst.

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