the next three years, 39,000 California prison inmates will be shifted from
state prisons to local facilities under AB 109’s "realignment" plan – even
though most counties lack the jail space and resources to safely house and
supervise them. The state promises money, but we’ve heard this song before.
ensure the realignment doesn’t spark a public safety disaster, California
urgently needs to think outside the "cell block" to find creative new ways for
protecting the public with fewer staff and financial resources, without further
fueling local budget meltdowns.
One promising approach is post-conviction bail
for certain non-violent offenders, which would provide them with a very real
incentive to comply with court-ordered alternatives to jail time, such as reporting
to their probation officers, job training and substance abuse
rehabilitation. This would help ease
jail overcrowding, provide the public with a new level of protection, and
increase the success of jail alternatives, at no added cost to taxpayers.