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criminal justice

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Last year California lawmakers passed legislation that limits communication between local law enforcement agencies and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials. Recently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department made national headlines by attempting to bypass that law by publicly posting the release date of inmates online. It’s a practice that Fresno County has been using for years.

 

The race for Madera County District Attorney is likely to be one of the more interesting local contests in 2018. It pits incumbent DA David Linn against challenger and current Fresno County prosecutor Sally Moreno. The race took on a new tone in late 2017 after allegations surfaced that Linn had made racist and sexist remarks on the job.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Last November, 64 percent of California voters approved Proposition 57, which allows for the early release of so-called “non violent” offenders from state prison. Ahead of the vote, one of the biggest critics of the proposition was Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, who criticized the proposal for the lack of specificity in defining how the law would be implemented. At issue – what exactly would be considered a “nonviolent” offense and what wouldn’t be.

Teresa Douglass / Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Technology like Facetime and Skype has made talking face-to-face over long distances as easy as opening an app. Now even jails are offering video calls to connect inmates and their families. But some civil liberties groups say the new technology shouldn’t replace in-person visits.  

Before this year, if you wanted to visit an inmate in the Tulare County Jail, you would go to the facility, sit on opposite sides of a glass partition, and speak through a phone.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

California is in the middle of reversing decades of ‘tough on crime’ policies. Realignment and propositions 47 and 57 have been instituted to lighten the load in county jails and state prisons.

Now lawmakers are examining a system that sometimes keeps people in jail before they have even been convicted. Criminal justice reformers say California’s use of cash bail has created an income-based justice system.

So here is how this works.

Let’s say you are arrested and charged with a crime and find yourself in the Fresno County Jail.

http://www.fresnosheriff.org/admin/sheriff.html

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and California Governor Jerry Brown are locked in a dispute over which prisoners might be eligible for early release if voters approve Proposition 57. It's a measure backed by Brown as a remedy to the state's prison overcrowding problems, and a rollback of so-called "determinate sentencing" that Brown signed into law during his first stint in Sacramento in the 1970s. Mims says the law could let certain sexual offenders and others convicted of "nonviolent" crimes as defined in California's Penal Code, out of jail early.

Joe Moore, KVPR

With the implementation of Proposition 47 central valley law enforcement leaders warned about its potential to drive crime up. They argued that fewer people facing felonies gives people less chance to recover from addiction and change their life, while leaving them on the street to re-offend. But now even some in law enforcement are questioning if that is the case.

Valley Public Radio took a close look at the data from Fresno city and County to see if, six months into the experiment, the warnings are coming true.

Flikr-Victor, Creative Commons

There are roughly 1,000 fewer people in Fresno County who are on Felony probation. The County Probation Chief says that is due to changes brought about by Proposition 47.

By turning some felonies, especially drug convictions, into misdemeanors there are now only about 8,000 people under county supervision compared to 9,000 a year ago according to Probation Chief Rick Chavez.

Chavez says it is not necessarily a bad thing that fewer people are on probation as long as people who are now convicted of misdemeanors access treatment for addiction.

Prop 47 Seeks To Reduce California Prison Population

Oct 7, 2014
Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

Proposition 47 on the November ballot would reduce some drug possession and theft-related felonies to misdemeanors. Opponents say it would put dangerous criminals back on the streets or in local jails. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 47 would change felonies to misdemeanors for some nonviolent property and drug crimes: Grand theft, shoplifting, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks, check forgery and drug possession.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted today to submit a grant application to the state to fund a new $80 million jail annex. The proposed new West Annex Jail in downtown Fresno would house 300 inmates and would also include treatment facilities.

As part of the application the county agreed to set aside $8.8 million to help fund the project. If built, the county would be required to operate the facility for at least 10 years. The county hopes the new facility will replace the agin south jail annex in courthouse park.