Joseph O'Brien 7 a.m., Jan. 18
State Inmate Transfers - Realignment or "Prisoner Dumping?"
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has been actively broadcasting the views of supporters of its campaign to reduce prison populations, sending out at least two emails in recent weeks highlighting positive commentary on its actions. The efforts, mandated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering the department to reduce the population in its prison system to 167 percent of its maximum capacity and outlined in a plan called “The Future of California Corrections,” relies largely at present on activity referred to as “realignment,” where local jails are asked to take a greater role in housing lesser offenders.
“We know that as we implement realignment there is still a great deal of uncertainty ahead. There's a lot we have to work through. Fortunately, Secretary Cate and Governor Brown have demonstrated a willingness to work through the challenges with frontline law enforcement, with sheriffs statewide, with prosecutors and probation officers. The Blueprint clearly shows we are headed in the right direction,” says San Diego sheriff Bill Gore.
“California's prison system may be headed in a remarkable direction…it could be a new era for the state prison system. Some $30 billion over the next decade could be saved. Crowding and poor medical and health care could be improved. Any of these improvements would be a major achievement,” adds a San Francisco Chronicle editorial.
San Diego County supervisor candidate Carl Hilliard has another term for the program — prisoner dumping.
Hilliard complains in a release that the realignment, which transfers a burden of approximately $5.9 billion from the state to local governments, will result in the early release of many convicts.
“We would fail the citizens of our community and the victims of crime to follow the state's example and dump prisoners who have no jobs, are hooked on drugs, mentally ill, likely not rehabilitated, and equally likely to commit another crime onto our streets,” says Hilliard.
Hilliard instead calls for a four-pronged solution to prison overcrowding: improving risk-assessment programs to determine those most likely to harm the community if released, expanding electronic monitoring programs to allow for the release of more low-risk criminals, giving counties exclusive control over the funding of local courts, and returning all property tax control to local governments, such as the county board of supervisors on which he seeks the District 3 seat.
More like this:
- No trolley dancing here, folks — July 13, 2014
- Prison realignment program tied to higher crime rates — Dec. 10, 2013
- County officials admit success dealing with prison realignment — Sept. 25, 2013
- Local officials protest federal ruling ordering reduction in prison overcrowding — July 23, 2013
- State Releases $600M for Jail Expansions — Oct. 10, 2011