California lawmakers have touted the success of the state’s prisoner realignment program, saying that one year later they have successfully reduced the number of inmates being detained in state prisons. The program has worked so well, they said, that the Department of Corrections has said numbers are at their lowest point in 17 years.
Implemented as AB109, the mandate was simple. Non serious non violent and non sexual offenders were to be transferred to county jails to serve out the remainder of their sentences. This would ensure that the state prison system was only housing individuals who committed the most serious crimes and were serving the lengthiest terms.
On the other hand, county jails have reportedly seen a spike in the number of inmates being jailed on a local level.
A spokesperson for the San Bernardino jails said that they have seen an increase in violent crime taking place at their facilities. Assaults on jail staff have risen. Two inmates escaped from the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center last summer.
Los Angeles jails are also feeling a similar pinch. Inmate populations there have risen by about 33%. They, like other counties, have needed to resort to releasing certain offenders early. This has caused an increase in burglaries in certain neighborhoods.
A spokesperson for the Twin Towers Correctional Facility said the county is currently trying to put together a “pretrial decision making process” that would allow certain pretrial inmates to be released without needing to post bond. That program is still being evaluated. For now, current challenges remain.