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April 24, 2014

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California ‘lifers’ leaving prison at record pace

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 | 7:41 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Record numbers of murderers and other California inmates serving life sentences, with the possibility of parole, are leaving prison.

In the last three years, Gov. Jerry Brown has authorized the release of nearly 1,400 lifers — more than twice the number of paroles his three predecessors combined have granted since 1991.

Some 35,000 inmates are serving life sentences with the possibility of parole. And for decades, California governors and the parole board they appointed were denying parole to nearly every so-called lifer applying for freedom.

Crime victims and their advocates say the increased releases are an injustice to their victims. More than 80 percent of the lifers are in prison for murder. Brown said he is bound by court orders easing stringent parole requirements.