The budget problems -- and a federal order mandating the easing of overcrowding in the prisons and jails -- also have meant that serious offenders who belong in penitentiaries have been moved to the jails.
Generally jails are reserved for inmates awaiting trial and those sentenced to no more than about 18 months behind bars.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, officials blame sentencing laws that send more convicts to the county jail system, rather than state penitentiaries.
The Los Angeles Times reports that even violent and sex offenders are serving as little as 40 percent of their sentences, which poses a potential danger to the public.
The newspaper acquired a copy of the LASD release criteria, which shows that convicted gang members are allowed out after serving 40 percent of their time.
According to the Times, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's current policy allows men sentenced to less than 90 days in jail to walk immediately; women sentenced to less than 240 days are also immediately released, the newspaper reports.
Law enforcement and local government officials are concerned about the early releases, particularly of violent and sexual predators, the Times states.