New law allows California to trim inmate population

California will begin to reduce its prison population by about 6,500 inmates over the next year under a state law that takes effect Monday. The bill was signed as part of last year's state budget package. Under it, early release credits for inmates who complete educational and vocational programs will be expanded, letting more inmates leave prison earlier.

At the same time, the state will stop its monitoring of low-level offenders after their release. That is designed to reduce the number of parolees returned to prison, essentially because the state will not know if they are violating the terms of their parole.