Thousands of inmates in Los Angeles would be placed on detention in their homes because of overcrowded jails, it was reported Thursday.
Overcrowded jails have forced Los Angeles police to release thousands of inmates after they served only a fraction of their sentences, the Los Angeles Times reported.
To reduce pressure on overcrowded jails, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is seeking the power to enforce home detention of prisoners, but Baca called the proposed new power a short-term solution to the jail overcrowding problem, according to the paper.
But prisoners rights advocates are fighting the move, saying it would mean many more inmates would be deprived of the medical and mental healthcare they get behind bars, the paper said.
If granted the new authority by the state Legislature, the sheriff expects to assign inmates with low-level offenses to involuntary home detention, where they will wear electronic ankle bracelets that tell corrections officials whether the convicts stray from their homes, The Times reported.
"It will help me keep people in jail who need to stay in jail, including domestic violence offenders," Baca said in remarks published by The Times.
"Home detention, with electronic monitoring, is the best alternative to overcrowded jails because the offender can't go anywhere. They are not going to be free to commit other crimes."
The new powers, available to any county with an early release program because of jail overcrowding, are contained in a bill recently approved by the state Senate and passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, setting the stage for a final vote by the full Assembly, according to the paper.
Los Angeles County is under a court order to end overcrowding, so some inmates are released after serving only 25 percent of their time.