November 18, 2013
The prison systems in the world always need to change to support society or the prison systems. Assembly Bill 109 was signed by Governor Edmund Brown Jr. and implemented on October 1, 2011 to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons. It was a way to reduce the number of inmates in the overpopulated prisons. The California criminal justice system is undergoing substantial changes with the enactment of AB 109. This legislation begins a realignment process from the state to local level. This responsibility is for overseeing people convicted of certain felony crimes. The legislation that was approved will transfer control of thousands of less-serious felony offenders to county control. Many will be on supervised probation or parole which before this legislation would have been eligible for state prison. One of the reasons that AB 109 was put into place was a lawsuit Plata vs. Schwarzenegger. The result of this court preceding was that California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was in violation of eight amendments. The United States Supreme court concluded in a 184 page report to tell the state they need to reduce its prison population to 137.5% or 109,805 prisoners within two years. It was found that overcrowding was the primary reason for the unconstitutional medical care that was found to be in violation of the amendments. The courts ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to release prisoners until California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation meet the percent of inmate population in state prisons [The Cornerstone of California’s Solution to Reduce Overcrowding, Costs, and Recidivism, 2013]. On the effective date of October 1, 2011 California counties will be anticipated to control the supervision of prisoners on parole that the last offense was not a violent crime or a sex offense. The exceptions to this rule are that if the criminal is labelled or categorized as a high risk violator then the individual will be processed at the state level. With this legislation the newly convicted criminals that are considered to be non-serious, non-violent and non-sex offenders will be placed on probation or in local jails instead of sentences to state prisons. Lower risk parole violators will be kept at the local level. AB 109 is prospective, which means no inmates currently in state prison will be transferred to county jails or released early. Public Safety Realignment allows non-violent, non-serious, and non sex offenders to serve their sentence in county jails instead of state prisons. However, counties can contract back with the State to house local offenders. No inmates currently in state prison will be transferred to county jails. Other parts of the Public Safety Realignment state that no inmates currently in state prison will be released early. All felons sent to state prison will continue to serve their entire sentence in state prison. All felons convicted of current or prior serious or violent offenses, sex offenses, and sex offenses against children will go to state prison. There are nearly 60 additional crimes that are not defined in Penal Code as serious or violent offenses but at the request of law enforcement were added as offenses that would be served in state prison rather than in local custody [Community, Local Custody, 2013]. The legislation has affected the local governments and police departments with under manning because of the supervised probation and parole on the local levels that are needed for the nonviolent, non-serious, and non-sex offenders. The criminals now serve their sentence in county jails instead of state prisons which have stretched the local departments very thin. This includes the probation departments to monitor offenders daily. This is a negative factor within this legislation. Now at the county levels there are...
References: Brunett, E. (2013). Cities call for changes in AB 109 administration. Retrieved from Tehachapi news: http://www.tehachapinews.com/lifestyle/x740581198/Cities-call-for-changes-in-AB-109-administration
Community, Local Custody. (2013). Retrieved from CDCR: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/Community-Local-Custody.html
The Cornerstone of California’s Solution to Reduce Overcrowding, Costs, and Recidivism. (2013). Retrieved from CDCR : http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/
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