State Has Done Nearly All it Can to Shrink
Prisoner Population Using This Strategy
California has done about all it can to reduce prison populations, and it will be difficult to meet court orders for less overcrowding, a new report concludes.
Realignment has stalled and even reversed slightly as the number of new admissions to state prison rose in the second and third quarters of 2012, according to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice’s report One Year into Realignment: Progress Stalls, Stronger Incentives Needed, www.cjcj.org.
Part of this increase is due to the recent rise in new admission by counties such as San Bernardino and Los Angeles that previously had larger than average reductions, the CJCJ report concludes.
In an effort to comply with a court order to reduce prison overcrowding and meet budgetary limitations, California prison officials are redirecting certain offenders from state prison to local jurisdictions under Assembly Bill 109, “Realignment.”
Before Realignment went into effect a little more than a year ago, 17 counties had court-ordered jail caps, according to a report by Public Policy Institute of California, titled, Corrections Realignment: One Year Later www.ppic.org. Those counties are Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Merced, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Yolo.
Twenty counties, led by San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Orange, and Ventura, are continuing to realign larger parts of redirected offenders and are accomplishing lower imprisonment levels, according to a new report,
Of the 58 counties in the state, 50 show reductions in imprisonment; however, the disparities in imprisonment rates from county to county is likely to require state lawmakers to take action further slowing down how offenders are admitted into state prison.
Twenty-six counties either have brought down imprisonment rates considerably, such as Kern, Tulare, and Los Angeles, or have reduced rates of imprisonment at a slower rate. Twelve counties led by San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sacramento, and Kings are continuing to maintain high rates of imprisonment despite realignment mandates. These may reflect temporary adjustments rather than long-term trends.
The Riverside Press Enterprise reports more than 1,100 offenders are serving between five- and 10-year sentences in county jails as a result of Realignment.