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Politics & Government

Violence Increasing In California County Jails

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Ardiart/Wikimedia

California County jails have seen a marked increase in violence since they began housing thousands of offenders who previously would have gone to state prisons.

Assault records requested by The Associated Press show that many of the 10 counties that account for 70 percent of California's total jail population have experienced a surge in the number of inmate fights and attacks on jail employees.

The spike corresponds to a law championed by Governor Jerry Brown in which lower-level offenders are sentenced to county jails instead of state prisons. Brown sought realignment of the state's penal system in response to federal court orders.

The increase significantly outpaces the overall growth in the jail population. The combined population grew 14 percent while inmate-on-inmate assaults rose 32 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults rose 27 percent.