Sheriff's Department Halts Early Releases

Fresno, CA, USA In three and a half days, some 70 were released, now Sheriff Margaret Mims says she's done for now. The deciding factor: a proposal that would free up 6-million dollars to alleviate severe budget cuts and stop the threatened layoffs of 50 correctional officers.

Sheriff Mims said:"It sounds like a good plan, doesn't hurt other departments, keeps me from releasing inmates and laying off employees."

Fresno County Supervisor Bob Waterston said: "I think this is good for everybody, people can sleep good tonight knowing we're, we, not going to release anymore more prisoners until we talk again Tuesday."

Waterston says County Department heads came up with the temporary solution that the entire board will take up at their meeting Tuesday.

Waterston did not specifically say where the money would come from, but did say it will not come from the budgets of any other county departments. Waterston said: "We would not hurt another department it would be internal borrowing that we would actually have to borrow from ourselves and pay back with interest."

Mims who's been out of the office for medical reasons says despite Mayor Autry's claims she did not jeopardize public safety by releasing inmates early.

Mims said: "There was a lot of confusion about what the mayor was announcing, these were unsentenced inmates who hadn't been convicted of anything yet."

Both Sheriff Mims and Bob Waterston say Mayor Autry's threats had nothing to do with the timing of their decision.


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