On October 1, Los Angeles County will begin monitoring, tracking and incarcerating low-risk offenders, who were previously the responsibility of the State. Referred to as “realignment,” the State is shifting responsibility to the local level, following a US Supreme Court decision requiring the State to reduce its prison population.
An initial influx of approximately 1,200 of these individuals will be transferred from State prison to County jails, with up to 1,000 expected each month thereafter. Their paroles will be supervised jointly by Sheriff’s deputies and Probation officers. While the State committed funding to the County for the next nine months, there are no guarantees that the Legislature won’t raid the funds, potentially leaving counties with the offenders but no resources to manage them.
The Legislature is essentially balancing its budget and reducing the State prison population on the back of local government. While they claim to be providing funding, it is only a commitment for nine months. The fact is there is ‘no room at the inn’ in LA County. We cannot effectively live up to our new public safety responsibilities without the full partnership of the State.
The Governor recently said he is committed to putting a constitutional protection measure on the November 2012 ballot to ensure counties have the resources to manage these offenders on an ongoing basis. The Legislature can place a measure on the November 2012 ballot by a two-thirds majority vote. If that does not move forward, I will join other county supervisors from across the state to support efforts to place a measure on the ballot by voter signature. This will allow the voters of California to weigh in and constitutionally protect resources for public safety