California Sheriff Says State Law on Prisons ‘Killing our Citizens’

The Shasta County Sheriff implored California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reverse policies that keeps the state’s prisons from accepting new inmates due to fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus, saying the actions are “killing our citizens.”

Sheriff Eric Magrini, whose jurisdiction includes a county with two national forests about 200 miles north of the capital of Sacramento, said the state policy has turned local jails into long-term lockups.

“What they’ve done is they’ve essentially turned these local jails into mini prisons,” Magrini told Fox News.

“On top of that, our state officials, our governor, is closing prisons, with the goal of releasing 17,000 inmates early. It’s extremely frustrating. It’s extremely difficult. And it’s just not fair to the citizens that we serve here daily.”

Magrini specifically referred to a case involving James Joshua Noyes, 33, of Redding, Calif.

Noyes, who had previous convictions for theft, narcotics, domestic violence and weapons, was arrested this past Saturday for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, but had to be released five hours later due to overcrowding at the Shasta County Jail.

Within hours after his release on Sunday at about 3 a.m., police said Noyes obtained a gun, engaged in a confrontation at a convenience store, shot and killed a man and fled.

Police located Noyes the following the afternoon when he led them on a 100 mph car chase. He lost control of the car, crashed and was eventually apprehended by a K9 officer. He’s been charged with homicide, felony possession of a firearm and evading the law, among other offenses.

Magrini said he’s had to release 744 inmates in the past three months due to overcrowding because state prisons have stopped accepting convicts sentenced to serve time there.

“These laws are not working,” Magrini said in a plea to Newsom. “It’s breaking our criminal justice system. It’s breaking our local jails’ ability to manage local offenders, and its endangering and its killing our local citizens.”

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