Brown in Monterey on realignment

Gov. Jerry Brown, who said in his state of the state address that the state and the locals need to work together to make realignment work, is in Monterey today to meet privately with public safety officials.

Under the most controversial piece of realignment, corrections, state prison inmates are shifted to counties’ custody. In return, the state commits to provide the locals with enough resources to do the job.

But tensions remain among the locals, who contend that they have not received sufficient funds.

Brown planned to  stop by the California District Attorneys Association in Monterey. His office said he also would be in the county to hold private meetings with public safety officials.

Last week, he met with law enforcement officials in Fresno, Kern and Riverside counties. In his address to the Legislature on Monday, Brown also mentioned his trip to the Lerdo jail north of Bakersfield, where he said he was inspired by the success there of realignment.

 “This realignment is bold and far reaching, but necessary under the circumstances,” Brown said. “And local law enforcement has risen to the occasion.”

  Counties throughout the state are now using “evidence-based practices,” to better identify individual risk factors and improve treatments being used to reduce the likelihood of re-offense, according to Brown.

Gregg Fishman, a spokesman for the counties, lauded the governor’s work within those communities to make the policy effective.

“He’s been out to several counties and checking in with the people who are on the ground dealing with this, trying to make it work,” Fishman said. “It still needs some tweaking clearly, in some spots in particular, but it is also working in some spots. The degree he is paying attention to it is great.”

A recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found property theft was on the rise since realignment’s implementation, and the state’s district attorneys are concerned over how the state will fulfill its policy commitment.

“The governor has been good about working with us and he understands what our concerns are,” said Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse, co-chair for CDAA’s legislation committee. “But we also have to deal with the Legislature and whether our concerns are going to be addressed in the Legislature.”

 The association has assembled a realignment subcommittee to look at all aspects of what possible legislation CDAA should pursue in order to fulfill the principal moral argument for realignment: reducing recidivism rates.

 Morse said so far the move has been to release more and more people, and to lower crime penalties, which some CDAA members would argue is the reason for spikes in crime rates.

Lawmakers in charge of crafting criminal justice legislation disagree penalties have become too lax.

“If longer sentences made for safer streets, California would have some of the lowest crime rates on earth,” Assemblyman Tom Ammiano  (D-San Fransisco), chair of the new Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment, said in a prepared statement after the governor’s address.

At the moment, Morse said, “it’s too early to say with any real conviction or accuracy that it’s successful or not.”


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