Board of Supervisors Off-Site Meeting: AB 109 Public Safety Realignment

By Sheryl Hamlin

The October 13, 2015 Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting was held off-site in the council chambers of Santa Paula. This is the fourth installment in a series about this meeting. Previous installments covered: Public Comments, County Health and Santa Paula Creek.

Item 17, the Public Safety Realignment Implementation Update report, was presented by Mark Varela. This detailed report may be watched at 2:13 on the video. Click on the agenda item to download Mr. Varela’s presentation.

AB109 was signed by Governor Brown in 2011 in response to prison overcrowding. At the time of signing, the California prison population was at 190% of capacity. What most people don’t understand about realignment is who is chosen to be “realigned”. Only those parolees and inmates sentenced after October 1, 2011 are eligible. As part of the plan, each county came up with a plan to process the “realigned” population and was given funds for this population.

New terms and definitions resulted from AB109 were used in the presentation, as well as current Public Safety acronyms which appear throughout the presentation:

  • “felony” was redefined
  • “recidivism” was redefined at the state level
  • PRCS – Post Release Community Supervision
  • MRT – moral recognition therapy
  • TAY – Transitional Aged Youth
  • ADP – Alcohol and Drug Programs
  • CCP – Community Corrections Partnership
  • TRJ – Todd Road Jail
  • PROS – Post Repeat Offenders
  • CDCR – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

What is the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP)? All 58 California counties produced a CCP. To read the 2012-2015 Ventura County CCP, click here. The Ventura County CCP meets quarterly in the county and decides such things as funding allocation and the AB109 Implementation plan.

Now let’s talk stats. Since October 2011, when the program started, there have been these categories of activities:

1,434 Total PRCS to Ventura County (as of 9/30/15)

  • 142 committed to CDCR (sent back to state custody)
  • 126 transferred out of Ventura County
  • 99 reached “Controlling Discharge Date”
  • 4 paroled
  • 27 court-ordered terminations
  • 26 deceased
  • 382 one-year mark – successful completion per statute
  • 94 Prop 47 terminations
  • 534 PRCS actively supervised in the community as of 9/30/2015

Note that Prop 47 which passed in 2014 is not AB 109. It is important to understand the difference. Prop 47 reduced sentences, while AB109 moved parolees and inmates from state control to county control. Here is a legal FAQ about AB109.

The chart below generated the most discussion:

stats

 

Supervisor Parks caught immediately that 9% plus 31% means 40% are repeat offenders. The 31-150 day range is monitored closely, according to Mr. Varela, in an effort to reduce repeat offences.

Mr. Varela was asked about the program and what surprises AB109 had produced. He said that the population is more sophisticated and thus more challenging to manage. This population, he said, has a much deeper criminality record than expected and contains hardened offenders. The other major change is the jail population. Prior to AB109, the average county jail sentence was less than one month. Now it is 12 to 15 years, which essentially has turned the county jails into state prisons. Note that Todd Road Jail is outside the limits of Santa Paula at the western boundary and they are planning an expansion.

One bright side of realignment is that local parole agents have more contact with this population than did the state parole because the county has capped the case loads at 40. The not so bright side is that recently there has been an increase in property related crime in Ventura County.

Funding is a major part of the CCP, as mentioned earlier. The state provided around $17 million in FY 14/15, but this will decrease in FY 15/16 based on a metric designed to encourage successful transition of the realigned. In support of successfully transitioning this population, many new programs are underway. Interestingly enough, some of these programs originated with juveniles. Most of these are contracted with firms who specialize in these programs.

programs

This presentation is well worth the 30 minutes to watch the video and download Mr. Varela’s entire presentation.

At three hours, the Special Off-Site Meeting of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors was dense with material about which informed citizens should be current.

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For more information about the author, visit sheryhamlin.com

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