Thousands of California inmates are being released early, as the state tries to close a $20 billion budget deficit. The controversial plan is designed to save millions of dollars, but will it sacrifice public safety?

Inmates will qualify for early release as long as their crime was nonviolent or nonsexual; petty thieves, drug users and burglars are typical. However the plan to let prisoners out early is not a popular idea, and as a result is being met with criticism, especially among law enforcement authorities.

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Paul Weber, the president of the LAPD Protective League, is concerned that the program will lead to an increase in crime on the streets, particularly during an economic recession.

“I think it’s going to be a perfect storm,” says Weber. “We’re going to have a lot of bad guys coming out of prison, and we are also experiencing cuts at the local level for law enforcement so I think the impact on public safety is going to be devastating.”

According to Weber, over 70 percent of prisoners in the California penal system are likely to be re-incarcerated for committing a new crime after a few years of being let out of jail.