Some 8,500 parolees were removed from the supervised status, limiting the tools available for local police forces in monitoring recently released inmates re-emersion into society. It was a move that caught many in law enforcement off guard.

When a parolee is classified as a supervised parolee, police have broad powers to stop and search the individual, as well as check them for weapons and other potential violations. Furthermore, sending a parolee back to prison can be as basic as violating their parole. For the 8,500 re-classified ex-inmates, they must now be arrested, tried, and convicted on new charges.

The massive purge came ass a result of a cost-cutting law passed during the last budget cycle. That law allowed for non-violent, nonsexual criminals to be released from parole in as little as six months. That’s a reduction by half of the previous required period of a year.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The number of state prison parolees freed from law enforcement supervision jumped more than sixfold in April as a little-known law that speeds up the release process took effect.

About 8,500 parolees were taken off supervision, a number that surprised many law enforcement officials who said they were racing to figure out how to deal with it. By contrast, about 1,300 parolees were discharged in March.

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