BY RICHARD K. De ATLEY
STAFF WRITER
rdeatley@pe.com

Published: 06 January 2012 06:30 PM

Riverside County jails have reached their inmate capacity because of the state prison realignment program, and officials said that 57 inmates will have to be released between Friday evening and today.

The county has 3,906 jail beds and is under a federal court order not to add any more unless it builds additional housing for inmates.

Released inmates will be low-level, non-violent offenders, jail officials said. Common offenses in that classification would include low level property and narcotics crimes that do not directly involve other people. Options include ankle-bracelet monitoring, return of parole violators to outside supervision and early release of the least problematic convicted inmates.

Another possibility is post-arraignment release of low-level offenders awaiting resolution of their cases, said Riverside County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jerry Gutierrez, who oversees the jails.

“We are just trying our best to incarcerate those who need to be there, but I have to make room for the most violent,” Gutierrez said.

He said the inmates released Friday and today will be spread among the county’s five facilities in Riverside, French Valley, Indio, Blythe and Banning.

Riverside County now joins San Bernardino and Kern counties, which also had to let inmates out early or stop accepting some low-level offenders because of realignment overcrowding.

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