In an effort to keep jail inmate populations in control and prevent criminals released from prison as a result of the state's realignment program from committing offenses, San Joaquin County created a task force. Fox reported the Community Corrections Partnership Task Force is a joint effort involving county police departments from Lodi, Stockton, Manteca and Tracy.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones told Fox that the special group will specifically target those who have been released from prison or jail early. Prevention and enforcement efforts will help police and probation officers keep closer watch on these former inmates to ensure they are not committing new crimes and returning to a San Joaquin jail.
The California prison realignment program was created to reduce severe overcrowding in state facilities by transferring non-violent or non-serious offenders to county jails. However, because many jail systems in the state were already overcrowded themselves, the program allowed some offenders to have sentences reduced and released back into the community under county watch. For areas like San Joaquin County, where crime issues already existed, this posed a challenge for law enforcement to step up their crime-fighting efforts, Fox reported. In Lodi, crime has increased 19 percent since the realignment program took effect, Mark Helms, the city's police chief, told Fox. He said police departments realized the situation called for them work together to alleviate some of the challenges they face.
“Our budgets have been slashed," he said. "Our staffing has been slashed. We have to work together as a region."
The money to fund the new task force was provided through the state. The prison realignment program allocated money to each county in order to manage the increase in inmates and offenders, and the Pacovilla Corrections blog stated that San Joaquin County will use $500,000 for the task force.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said the task force would not be possible without the state money, as the communities are facing budget cuts of their own, and when budgets are slashed, "these special teams are almost always the first to go," a Record Net article stated. The funding will provide the task force with enough money to operate for one year, according to the news source.
The article also stated the San Joaquin County Probation Department will contribute to the task force, but will not use any of the state money.