Because of California’s ongoing budget crisis and overcrowded prisons; California has decided to relax parole regulations for convicted nonviolent felony offenders, including no random drug tests, travel stipulations or check-in requirements. Currently, eleven percent of the California budget goes to prison costs, accounting for $8.6 billion this year alone. Officials believe that the initiative will save $500 million the first year, helping to close the $20 billion gap. This new measure is said to reduce prison populations by reducing the number of minor California parole violations that re-imprison parolees.
According to an article from the Associated Press, around 24,000 nonviolent parolees are expected to qualify for less supervision; including many who are already on parole. Although those eligible for parole in the next year in California are required to register their addresses, parole officers are not required to conduct unannounced home visits or searches. Instead, this task will be left to local law enforcement; who have expressed fears that the deregulation would lead to an increase in crime, thereby compounding the problem.