Petition asks California prisons stop flow of released prisoners

A petition calling on the California Department of Corrections to stop "dumping ex-felons in our state" is being circulated after one Reno woman's run-in with a convicted rapist.

The petition started circulating this week, although signature totals are unknown. When it is full, petitioners say they will present it to the governors of both states and the wardens of the California Correctional Facility Center and High Sierra Facility Center in Susanville, Calif.

The victim of the attack, a worker at the Zeh, Saint-Aubin, Spoo & Hearne law firm, said she was accosted in the bathroom of the office, located on Forest Street in Reno.

"We heard a blood-curdling scream and ran into the bathroom where (the victim) was," said Treva J. Hearne, a partner at the firm. "Another woman we work with punched him and we think she broke his nose."

Within the hour the man was located and arrested.

The woman learned that her attacker was recently released from the Susanville, Calif., corrections center. Further research revealed that as many as 200 prisoners a month are released to Reno, the closest transportation hub.

Local activist Tonja Brown said she heard about the incident and the corrections department practice of releasing prisoners without bus tickets or other travel arrangements.

"We the residents of Nevada demand that you, the state of California, be responsible for your decisions to release these ex-felons and not place the burden on us Nevadans," reads the petition. "If unable to relocate those ex-felons due to the fact that they have no home, family, or other place to go, (they should) be sent back to their place of conviction."

Brown is asking Carson City business owners to display the petition. She said the law firm has pledged to send the wardens of those prisons 100 signatures by the end of the week

For more information call Brown at 882-2744.

"We think it is a real problem for public safety," Hearne said. "They used to send them to Reno where they got a bus ticket home. Now they send them to Reno and just give them cash."

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