Across the country, all states struggle with how to handle both prisoners and released inmates. While we all generally believe that people who committed crimes ought to atone for them, the reality is that people cannot and should not be locked up forever. That would be neither fair nor financially practical.
This is an issue that is especially pressing in California, which is infamous for its overcrowded prison system. To put the issue simply: How do we balance a fair and just criminal justice system against the reality of our state's prisons?
This is a question that hit home not too long ago. Fifteen former inmates were arrested during a recent sweep of Perris, Menifee and the unincorporated communities around the two Southwest Riverside County cities.
The Press Enterprise reports that the sweep involved a check-up of inmates who were released, but are still being monitored because they bear some risk of reoffending.
All of the former inmates who were arrested were booked on suspicion of violating supervised probation. Some also face assorted criminal charges, including:
- Possession of narcotics paraphernalia.
- Child endangerment
- Possession of heroin for sale
- Being under the influence of a controlled substance
Public safety is everyone's concern, and it's not wrong to make sure that people are keeping up with the terms of their probation. That being said, it is also not wrong to ask whether those arrested knew the terms of their probation and knew what kind of actions would violate it. The criminal justice system is not always easy to understand, and not all people are able to navigate it properly. Many prisoners suffer from mental illness or have substantial drug / alcohol problems. Others speak English as their second language or have low levels of education. It is not unheard of probation officers to be responsible for supervising dozens of individuals at any given time. As a result, inmates are rushed out the jail doors and released into the community without much direction.
If you are interested in speaking with a California criminal defense attorney who serves Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Banning, Corona and all other areas of Riverside County, please feel free to contact us.