Candidates for district attorney have been critical of AB 109 — which includes the shift of felons from state parole supervision to county probation oversight.
Under Public Safety Realignment, the state shifted responsibility for nonviolent, nonserious, and nonsex-offenders to counties in October 2011 to reduce overpopulation in state prisons.
That means community offenders who would have previously been in state prison or on state parole now serve their sentences in County jail or under county probation’s supervision.
DA candidate Robert Brewer says on his website:
“Bonnie Dumanis failed to oppose AB 109 when it mattered. Why? Because she was too busy running for mayor in 2011. While the bill was being debated in Sacramento, she actually gave support for realignment, courting politicians instead of protecting public safety.”
But in a Pomerado News interview posted last week, incumbent DA Dumanis said prisoner realignment was the greatest issue impacting the county’s legal system.
“[Prisoner realignment] is the single biggest change to our criminal justice system in 50 years,” she said. “Behind our backs and without our consent, the state voted to start sending inmates to local jails instead of state prison, releasing some prisoners early with less supervision.”
And the third DA candidate in Tuesday’s election told U-T San Diego:
“The prison realignment law is dangerous and should not have been implemented. Local public safety officials up and down California allowed the law to pass in order to receive money from the state. San Diego leaders claimed that they could do a better job housing and supervising prison inmates than the state Department of Corrections. Clearly, they cannot.
“Our local jails are not built to house long-term state prisoners. County jails are filled to capacity, causing early release of many felons to accommodate inmates serving prison sentences. Prison gangs and inmate politics have infiltrated our local jails.”
The SANDAG study, called “Arrests of Individuals Under Probation Supervision in the San Diego Region 2012,” showed 12 percent of adults arrested in 2012 were already on probation from a previous offense.
That represented an increase of just 2 percent compared to similar data collected in 2008, before AB 109 – the State Public Safety Realignment – took place, despite the fact that the number of high-risk offenders under county probation supervision grew dramatically — from 3,600 to 6,100 offenders, a 69 percent increase.
“In other words, we are doing our job with high-risk offenders,” Jenkins said of the results.
Jenkins said the report also affirmed much of what county probation had predicted using its tools for assessing risk when it comes to reoffending.
Those tools consider an offender’s criminal history and background. Offenders are interviewed as part of the process. The information is analyzed and used to predict whether the offender is likely to re-offend. Those with higher scores are managed more closely as appropriate, Jenkins said.
“Those tools have been predictive. That helps us to prioritize our resources on the high-risk offenders,” Jenkins said.
The study also found:
- Among offenders designated as Post-Release Community Supervision – those transferred from state parole supervision to county probation supervision – the rearrest rate is 36 percent compared to 22 percent for those under traditional county supervision. However, they would undergo the same risk assessment as other offenders to determine whether they would be placed in the high-risk category.
- Researchers noted a decrease in juvenile offender rearrest rates. The data showed 12 percent of juveniles arrested in 2012 were already on probation, compared to 18 percent in 2008.
Jenkins said the SANDAG report was useful, but can’t be expected to include all the factors that led to an offender’s rearrest. So probation will do further studies to develop further supervision strategies to reduce recidivism.
— County News Center contributed to this report.
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