SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Assembly Bill 109 was the state's response to an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce the prison population. It redirects low-risk inmates from state prison to county jails. County probation officers are now responsible for parolees.
Today, Governor Jerry Brown announced the state has taken legal action to end the federal court order to reduce prison populations.
Basically what Governor Brown said today was that the state has measures in place to cap prison population and that prison mental health care is in good shape. And because of this, the state no longer needs to be watched over.
Further prison reductions will impact public safety, that's according to Governor Brown. The target prison population from legislation AB 109 was set at 137.5% design capacity of state prisons. The state currently is at 147% capacity. According to the governor, the state prison population has been reduced by 43,000 inmates since 2006. AB 109 has forced state prisons to send inmates to county jails and out-of-state prisons to offset crowding.
Santa Barbara Sheriff's Lieutenant Erik Raney says, "you've got new offenders coming up in the criminal justice system who are also of a lower-level type offender who would have in the past gone to state prison and are now serving their time in county prison."
Raney says today's announcement from the governor echoes what's already being implemented at the state level.
"The state has already implemented their system, already released the prisoners they are going to release, and have already put the mandate on the counties to hold the prisoners who are no longer eligible for state prison," says Raney.
Raney says decreasing the state prison population has had an effect on county jails and will continue to effect them.
"We're now housing these inmates that would have otherwise gone to state prison," says Raney. "And that impact for the counties is really huge."
State officials claim they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars fixing the over population issue. That's including an $840 million prison health facility in Stockton.
Thursday, May 23 2013 1:29 AM EDT2013-05-23 05:29:02 GMT
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