A report detailing Los Angeles County concerns with AB 109 will be reviewed Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
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The report was conducted by the county’s Probation Department at the request of supervisors, who have expressed concern with a burden the Public Safety Realignment puts on county jails.
“Supervisor (Michael) Antonovich feels strongly that the realignment program is completely unnecessary, and it has created a public-safety crisis for this county and other counties up and down the state,” said Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich, who represents the Fifth District, which encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley.
Los Angeles County, which is the most populous county in the country, receives approximately $124,735,264 from the state, or approximately 31 percent of the state’s AB 109 allocation, according to Jeffrey Callison, press secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The state gives money to counties to organize rehabilitative programs for those convicted of nonviolent, nonsexual offenses, as well as to pay for “flash incarcerations,” which is part of how L.A. County deals with its AB 109 population.
Flash incarcerations are seven- to 10-day sentences given to repeat AB 109 offenders. These are part of the PostRelease Community Supervision effort, which is how AB 109 criminals are dealt with in L.A. County.
Only about 50 percent of the county’s AB 109 population is serving sentences of less than a year.
In 2011, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill AB 109 and AB 117, legislation that has helped enable California to close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons, according to the state’s website.
There are approximately 5,897 AB 109 offender in county jail, and about 50 percent, or 2,983 county inmates, are serving sentences of less than a year under AB 109 guidelines.
The average court sentence given under AB 109 is 2.6 years, and the most frequent charge cited for AB 109 offenders is methamphetamine possession, according to the county report.
From October 2011 to October 2013, there have been 14,337 AB 109ers sentenced, and 8,149 released.
As of July 5, there were 1,312 active warrants seeking suspected AB 109 violators.
In the Santa Clarita Valley, Sheriff’s Station Capt. Paul Becker said the recidivism rate for AB 109 violators is approximately 34 percent. That means about one-third of offenders who are released under AB 109 are re-arrested.
It is the cornerstone of California’s solution for reducing the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prison to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 27, as ordered by the Three-Judge Court and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the state’s website.
The 2011 Realignment plan is funded with a dedicated portion of state sales tax revenue and Vehicle License Fees.
Antonovich advocates the contractual use of private facilities in and out of state, which would charge “pennies on the dollar” compared to what we’re spending on state prisons currently, Bell said.
The Probation Department’s next realignment report is expected to be submitted the week before county supervisors’ Aug. 20 meeting.
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