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Thursday, October 9, 2014

EDITORIAL: Housing more inmates, counties innovate

PE.netCalifornia’s implementation of Assembly Bill 109, the prison realignment strategy, has put significant pressure on local governments to adjust and adapt to housing increasing numbers of offenders.

Key to the realignment strategy is keeping offenders sentenced for nonviolent, nonserious, nonsexual offenses (also referred to as non-non-nons, or N3s) in county jail systems rather than sending them to the crowded state prison system.

Since 2011, when AB109 was passed and enacted, the Inland Empire has seen thousands more offenders than the county jail systems were ever accustomed to housing. A joint county boards of supervisors hearing Sept. 16 between Riverside and San Bernardino highlighted how the counties have collaborated to manage the influx of inmates.

Several important ideas and developments were discussed that these pages believe are critical to long-term public safety efforts and recidivism reduction.

Mark Hake, chief probation officer for Riverside County, told the supervisors that, since the implementation of AB109, Riverside and San Bernardino counties have become responsible for 6,500 and 8,100 offenders, respectively, who otherwise would have been sent to the state prison system.

Mr. Hake pointed out that AB109 has “exacerbated” jail overcrowding in Riverside. Thus, the county has had to look to alternatives to incarceration.

The influx of inmates has pushed the county towards “effective new supervision strategies, development and provision of necessary services, judicious use of incarceration, development of incarceration alternatives, aggressive enforcement and apprehension efforts,” he said. continue reading...

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