As the effort to reduce prison overpopulation in California continues, inmates convicted of sex and violent crimes are being freed early. Violent offenders, as well as those convicted of sex crimes are being released after serving as little as 40% of their sentences.

Aside from that, some inmates are being freed even earlier. As the current procedure goes, male inmates who are sentenced to less than 90 days in jail are freed immediately while females sentenced to less than 240 days are freed immediately as well.

In 2012, a total of 26,000 inmates were released from county jails before their sentences were up. This year, 23,000 inmates have already been released, and there will surely be more yet to come.

Sheriff’s Department spokespeople mention that reduced budgets, after the economic crisis of 2008, make it impossible to keep every section of every jail open to receive inmates. Others state that, since county jails are being forced to take overflow from state prisons, they have no choice but to release some of their own prisoners early to make room for the other offenders.

Officials are concerned that the early release of prisoners not only represents a disservice to the victims of the crimes, but that reducing the penalty for criminal behavior will weaken the deterrent.

However, law enforcement feels their hands are tied. According to Assistant Sheriff Terri Macdonald: “Everybody wants offenders to be held accountable for their criminal behavior. There’s not enough money… there aren’t enough resources.”