Translate this page
Supervisors to Call on State to Increase Funding for Public Safety
Monday, January 13th, 2014
Issue 03, Volume 18.
Riverside County Executive Officer Jay Orr will ask the Board of Supervisors to officially endorse an L.A. County board motion advocating larger allocations from the Assembly Bill 109 program.
AB 109, also known as the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, was enacted as part of a broader strategy to reduce the state's inmate population in the face of a federal court decree mandating that the number of inmates in California prisons be slashed by 33,000 for health and safety reasons.
Under AB 109, so-called "non-serious, non-violent" offenders convicted of felonies that do not stem from a sexual offense are to serve their sentences in local detention facilities. Proponents of realignment suggested that jail sentences would be capped at three years, but that has not held true; one inmate in Riverside County is serving a 12-year sentence, while another in Los Angeles County is serving 43 years at a local detention facility.
AB 109 also made counties responsible for prosecuting and incarcerating probation and parole violators whose offenses do not fall into the "serious or violent" category. According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, nearly one-fifth of all jail detainees last year were AB 109 cases.
A 20-year-old federal court order mandates that the county have a jail bed for every detainee or selectively release inmates to make room for incoming ones. According to the CEO's office, in 2013, the sheriff released 9,286 inmates because of space limitations. That compares to what Sheriff Stan Sniff described as an unprecedented number in 2012 -- 6,990.
"Although Riverside County hasthe greatest number of early releases in the state, no county has sufficient state funding to fully implement all of the programs necessary to reduce recidivism and move offenders toward self- sufficiency," Orr wrote.
The county currently spends 20 percent of general fund dollars on corrections. That number is projected to more than double in a decade if the county appropriates the revenue required for jail infrastructure.
There are five detention facilities in the county able to hold just under 4,000 inmates -- less than in any neighboring county.
Orr noted that AB 109 problems are not centered entirely on space shortages. The county's resources are also being drained providing mental health services, substance abuse treatment, temporary housing, clothing, transportation and other assistance to "realigned offenders," according to the Executive Office.
The Department of Probation's "realignment caseload" stands at 2,868, according to Orr.
"More than half of those probationers are at high-risk for re- offending," he said.
Both Orr and L.A. County CEO William Fujioka stressed the need for increased state funding to support rehab programs, family counseling, job training, electronic monitoring in lieu of jail and similar initiatives aimed at keeping people out of detention facilities.
In a letter to Orr, Fujioka said that several counties now find themselves targets of the same type of healthcare-related litigation that spurred the state to shift public safety responsibilities to localities.
"It is clear that in order to avoid the costly litigation that has plagued the state for many years, counties must address the operational, physical and clinical infrastructure issues presented by AB 109," Fujioka said.
He characterized current AB 109 funding levels as "woefully inadequate."
According to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation report, in the current fiscal year ending June 30, about $1 billion will have to be shared among the state's 58 counties.
The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.
The Village NewsAnza Valley OutlookFallbrook.orgThe BoulevardSourcebookPDF VersionCoupon CornerSign up for iNewsEarthquake Info
355 Medical marijuan...
262 Arrests now numb...
175 Authorities seek...
168 Man hit, killed ...
124 Mother-in-law ar...
122 Camp Pendleton a...
121 Authorities dist...
119 Bikers steering ...
117 Double fatality ...
116 22 suspected ill...
114 Temecula mosque ...
110 Governor Brown s...
107 Bonsall man (lon...
105 U.S. Marine corp...
105 Preliminary hear...