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December 2, 2011 > Inmate shift quickly filling some California jails

Inmate shift quickly filling some California jails

By Don Thompson and Greg Risling, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Nov 30 - Two months into California's most far-reaching public safety realignment in decades, some counties are seeing an influx of inmates who could crowd jails to the breaking point much earlier than expected.

State corrections officials expect the numbers to even out after an initial surge.

But local law enforcement agencies are struggling to contain criminals with a history of violence, substance abuse and mental illness who previously would have been tucked away in state prisons.

The changes result from a law that took effect Oct. 1 that shifts responsibility for lower-level criminals from the state to local jurisdictions.

Officials say if the unexpected number of convicts coming to county jails continues, they may seek to move some crimes back under state jurisdiction so offenders would again go to state prison.

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