In 2011, the Legislature enacted a comprehensive criminal justice realignment scheme whereby counties became responsible for addressing criminal offenders that had traditionally been the responsibility of the State (commonly referred to as Assembly Bill 109). Many of those discharged from state prison now fall under the jurisdiction of counties for serving out the final terms of their sentences. This change was made with the hope of relieving prison overcrowding, reducing recidivism levels, and providing better services to offenders in order to ultimately reduce the burden to taxpayers and crime victims. Under 2011 criminal justice realignment, a number of county departments – led by the Chief Probation Officer – became responsible for meeting these new demands. Much of the funding for 2011 criminal justice realignment stems from state sales tax proceeds, and these revenue amounts are required to be provided to counties under the State’s Constitution.
Counties throughout the state continuously work to implement and improve their criminal justice realignment programs. A number of issues that have been associated with this significant policy change include expanding/renovating local jail facilities, providing adequate funding to county departments, and ensuring that rehabilitation programs exist (and are funded) in rural counties to reduce recidivism.
RCRC works with a variety of county organizations and state agencies charged with implementing criminal justice realignment. Furthermore, RCRC opposes revisions in State law that disrupt the implementation efforts and additional burdens to counties, particularly when there is no data or corresponding analysis which warrants changes.
Staff: Paul A. Smith