The California law that was to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by sentencing non-violent, low-level non-sexual offenders in county facilities may actually increase prison populations.

Representatives from the Taft police department have said that one of the town’s frequent law-breakers may wind up serving a 26-year sentence in the Bakersfield County Jail.

KERO ABC 23 has reported that the man in question, 65-year old Roger Baxter, has been in and out of the system for years. Although Baxter has four prior convictions for dealing drugs, prosecutors said that “none have been serious enough to get him a strike under the state’s three strikes law”.

Baxter had recently been out on bond for another case, for which he was expected to receive a nine-year sentence.   When he failed to appear in court a bench warrant was issued for his immediate arrest.  He was apprehended by members of the Taft Police Department last weekend.

County officials say that forcing offenders like Baxter to remain in county facilities, as opposed to serving out their sentences in state prisons, will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.   The Sheriff’s department further notes that these types of offenders will only serve “a fraction” of their sentences due to overcrowding.

Taft Police Lt. Pete Aranda said he will be surprised if violators such as Baxter will serve 25% of their full sentence.

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