Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said, "It's very sad. It's not an easy thing when you have employees losing jobs, but it's really a fact of life."
As a result of the layoffs, Sheriff Mims ordered the closure of another floor of the jail, which caused the early release of an additional 432 von-violent offenders. All told, three floors have closed in two years.
"We can't close anymore floors because the people we have now I'm required by law to keep in custody," said Sheriff Mims.
However, she says as arrests continue, so could the number of releases. Since April 1st 1,262 prisoners have been released early from the county jail. 2,365 inmates have been released since January 1st. That's close to the number of prisoners the jail holds at full capacity.
A spokesperson from the union representing the correctional officers says there are deep concerns about the effect these layoffs will have on public safety saying quote, "The Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors are making the wrong decisions, and the citizens of Fresno County are paying the price."
Sheriff Mims says those who are released early will face a judge, "They are held accountable by getting them into the judicial system. They've got them photographed, fingerprinted and identified. And might be able to identify them in other cases they might be responsible for."
Mims says the 15 job cuts complete this year's budget. However her concern now is the 2010-2011 budget which will call for even deeper cuts.