The League of California Cities announced its strong support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for a stay delaying implementation of the federal court order to release 10,000 additional inmates from California’s prisons. Filed last Friday with the same three-judge panel that issued the release order on June 20, the stay would provide the state with the additional time required to appeal the panel’s decision to the United States Supreme Court. The League joins the Governor, the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Association of Counties and other groups in opposing the recent order by the judicial panel charged with oversight of California’s prison system The League maintains that the order represents a clear and present danger to public safety at a time when California’s local police departments, as well as county jails and probation offices, are still struggling to effectively manage the 2011 criminal justice realignment policy.

Unwavering in its belief that keeping residents of California’s cities safe is of utmost importance, the League asserts that thoughtful consideration of whether or not to suddenly release another 10,000 inmates onto our streets is warranted. Currently the estimated 40,000-plus offenders previously realigned to the county level are what are known as known as the “non-non-nons” — the non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders. Both Governor Brown and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation maintain that all inmates meeting this definition that can be purged from the state’s prison system have in fact been purged.

If California must now release more inmates, as the court panel has directed, the state will be forced to consider which of these violent, serious, sex offender classes of inmates will be put back onto the streets. The Governor and California’s law enforcement community find this option unthinkable and the League of California Cities adamantly agrees.

California has made great progress in reducing its prison population. Therefore, the League strongly supports Governor Brown’s request for a stay the federal court order until the matter can be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. The League believes it would be unwise and dangerous to test the capacity of California’s local law enforcement network further to cope with a significantly expanded universe of offenders. The League urges the court to grant the Governor’s request in order to avoid the serious risk it poses to all Californians.