News Review — Two recently released reports indicate that, despite some political claims to the contrary, the state’s prisoner-realignment effort is working both locally and statewide. Based on Assembly Bill 109, and triggered by order of the U.S. Supreme Court, the realignment has reduced the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prisons by about 28,000 since October 2011 by sending low-level felons to county jails rather than into state custody.
Still, there remains a misconception that realignment transfers felons from state to county incarceration or releases them early. According to a fact sheet from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, under AB 109 “newly convicted low-level offenders without current or prior serious or violent offenses stay in county jail to serve their sentence; this has reduced the annual admissions (to state prison) to less than 35,000 a year. Prior to realignment, there were approximately 55,000 to 65,000 new admissions from county courts to state prison.”
According to the state report, since AB 109 went into effect, no offenders have received an early release from state prison, and post-realignment recidivism has actually decreased.
The new info counters the statements by such state representatives as Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) and Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Loma Rica), who have warned constituents that realignment is putting local communities at risk.
Last October, Nielsen held a press conference at the State Capitol and said, “This legislation, unlike any other before, has unleashed an unprecedented crime wave across the state over the past year, and it started in the very first week. This crime wave is real; AB 109 is not working.”
In March, Logue commented on Republican bills introduced to counter realignment: “The governor’s program has been a disaster. We have more hardcore criminals on the streets. We have to reduce this trend. The people of California don’t feel safe anymore.” continue reading...