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Grand Jury Issues Report On Local Criminal Justice System

The Shasta County Grand Jury has issued a report on the District Attorney’s Office that tells a story frequently told by many criminal justice related agencies over the past decade: a lack of jail space combined with a system that makes it difficult to keep criminals behind bars leads inevitably to a loss of deterrent for crimes. The Grand Jury places much of the blame on state laws such as AB-109 that moved many prison inmates to local jails, Prop 47 that reduced many felonies to misdemeanors, Prop 57 that allowed for early parole, and SB-1437 that reduces sentences for accomplices to murder. Shasta County prosecutors have been working 6 to 7 days a week, 10 hours a day, and some are permanently on call. The stress level has decimated the D.A.’s Office, which has lost about a third of its prosecutors in the past two years, and it’s very difficult to recruit new qualified attorneys to fill the positions. The Grand Jury report praises the D.A.’s office for their commitment and acknowledges their suffering, but the report falls far short of providing practical solutions, which very possibly simply don’t exist.