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Inmate Released to Reduce Prison Overcrowding Cost Four Lives in Northridge Shooting Accused Killer Had Long Criminal History PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elizabeth Marcellino   
Thursday, 13 December 2012 06:51

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The state deliberately ignored inmates' serious prior offenses and released dangerous parolees into unsuspecting communities, county officials charged while discussing the oversight of a probationer accused of killing four people outside an unlicensed boarding house in Northridge.

To comply with a federal court order to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, state officials shifted responsibility for non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual offenders to county jurisdictions. But when classifying prisoners as what Sheriff Lee Baca calls "non, non, nons," the state chose to consider only the most recent conviction, not earlier crimes.

"The state had to back into a number" to get down to about 30,000 prisoners to meet the terms of the court order and were well aware of the choices they were making, county Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers said.

Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky said they warned state officials about appropriately classifying prisoners more than a year ago. "There might be four people in Northridge alive today if they had taken the wise counsel we gave them," Yaroslavsky said. Luis Patino, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said "We enforce the law as written," but could not comment further on the case.

Representatives of the governor's office could not be reached for immediate comment. The accused killer, Ka Pasasouk, 31, had a long criminal history, including robbery and drug-related offenses. Released from state prison in January after completing his sentence, Pasasouk was placed under the supervision of the county's Probation Department instead of state parole officials. Antonovich said Pasasouk repeatedly failed to comply with the terms and conditions of his release, resisted rehabilitative programs and was arrested multiple times over the past 11 months.

Powers said his officers had little ability to compel probationers -- even those with serious mental health issues -- to get treatment, unless they are rearrested. Of the 12,000 former state parolees released to county supervision since the realignment took effect Oct. 1, 2011, nearly 8,000 have been rearrested and 799 have been turned over to the federal government for deportation, Powers said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 December 2012 06:55