Governor may free inmates to ease budget

If crime victim groups cringe when they see inmates being released early, they'll hate Governor Schwarzenegger's latest plan.

He's urging Californians to approve the budget-fixing propositions on the May 19th ballot or else the sentences of 19,000 undocumented criminals immigrants will be commuted and turned over to ICE for deportation. Another 19,000 non-serious, no-violent offenders will just be let go.

That will save the state $700 million over two years.

"It is an extortion. You're threatening us. You're telling us, you vote for this or else this is what I'm going to do with you," said Harriet Salarno, Crime Victims United.

The governor says he's just being honest. Without the propositions, there'll be an immediate $6 billion budget hole. With government services already cut to the bone, core services, including incarceration, will be affected.

"You have to cut the $6 billion from somewhere. So what will happen is, as we've done in the previous two years, we cut across the board," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

"We'll have less resources for fire-fighting, less money to education. We'll have prisoners on the streets because we're to be have to let some folks out. So if that's okay with people, then vote 'No' and we'll stand by that," said Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger spokesman.

Law enforcement thinks the plan means criminals will not get a parole officer checking up on them -- a sobering thought, considering the recidivism rate in California is 70-percent.

"If they are resorting back to their old ways, if they violate and don't make their appointments, if they don't make their drug screening, then we can go out and take them back in and put them back in for a period of time. Without that, we have don't much control over them," said Ron Cottingham, Police Officers Research Association of CA.

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows five of the six propositions, the money generating proposals, are losing badly.

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