In an effort to address overcrowding in California’s prisons and assist in alleviating the state’s financial crisis, the Public Safety Realignment Act (Assembly Bill 109) was signed into law on April 5, 2011. AB 109 transfers responsibility for supervising specified lower level inmates and parolees from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to counties. Implementation of the Public Safety
Realignment Act is scheduled for October 1, 2011.
Additionally, Section 1230 of the California Penal Code is amended to read “Each county local Community Corrections Partnership established pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1230 shall recommend a local plan to the County Board of Supervisors for the implementation of the 2011 public safety realignment. (b) The plan shall be voted on by an executive committee of each county’s Community Corrections Partnership consisting of the Chief Probation Officer of the county as chair, a Chief of Police, the
Sheriff, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, presiding Judge or his or her designee, and the department representative listed in either section 1230 (b) (2) (G), 1230 (b) (2) (H), or 1230 (b) (2) (J) as designated by the county board of supervisors for purposes related to the development and presentation of the plan. (c) The plan shall be deemed accepted by the County Board of upervisors unless rejected by a vote of 4/5ths in which case the plan goes back to the Community Corrections Partnership for further consideration. (d) Consistent with local needs and resources, the plan may include recommendations to maximize the effective investment of criminal justice resources in evidence-based correctional sanctions and programs, including, but not limited to, day reporting centers, drug courts, residential multi-service centers, mental health treatment programs, electronic and GPS monitoring programs, victim restitution programs, counseling programs, community service programs, educational programs, and work training programs.”Enhance Pre-Trial Processes to More Effectively Utilize Current Jail Capacity.
In this component, the objective is to maximize jail capacity through the use of cost effective alternatives. Identifying offenders through the use of an actuarial risk assessment tool to determine both the recidivism and flight risks is critical for each of the recommended strategies listed below. As stated earlier, the jail has a fixed capacity of 5,500 beds. Currently, between 62-65% of those beds are filled by pre-trial inmates. With full implementation of public safety realignment, it is anticipated that the the majority of those beds will be taken by long-term sentenced offenders and post-release violators. The County will use the following strategies to reduce the number of pre-trial offenders in custody.
Request that the Court consider modifying bail schedules for offenders awaiting trial through the established Court process for modifying bail schedules, which should be completed by January 2012. This will require the input of the DA, CA, and representatives of the Defense Bar.
Provide risk assessment information at the bail review hearing to allow the Court to consider reducing bail for low risk offenders.
Use home detention, electronic monitoring, alcohol monitoring, and GPS for pre-trial offenders in lieu of jail, pursuant to the newly enacted Penal Code section 1203.018 and with authorization of the Board of Supervisors. The Sheriff and the DA, along with the Court, will establish reasonable rules and regulations under which such a program will operate. Specific eligibility criteria will limit the number and type of pre-trial inmates eligible for this program. If an inmate is eligible, this will be addressed at arraignment or bail review so victims have an opportunity to be heard and Marsy’s Rights will be protected. In addition, mental health and substance abuse treatment may be combined with any one of these options. The Sheriff may contract with either Probation or a private vendor for these services. The potentially eligible population is between 1,000-3,000 low and medium risk offenders annually.
Use Work Furlough (WF) as a new potential custody option for eligible pre-trial inmates. The additional potential capacity is 170 beds and 62,050 annual bed days.
Increase the use of residential treatment beds in lieu of pre-trial custody for those offenders with significant substance abuse issues. The cost to house an inmate in jail is more than twice as much as a residential treatment bed
Employ Alternative Custody Options and In Custody Programming
In this component, the objectives are to maximize the efficient use of jail capacity to accommodate the new populations by reducing the number of lower risk offenders in jail through the use of jail alternatives to and programming services while in custody. The following strategies are recommended to achieve this objective.
Maximize the use of alternatives to custody for eligible offenders in lieu of jail custody. There is a potential pool of 1,000 to 3,000 low and medium risk offenders for whom these options may be appropriate in lieu of or in combination with jail time.