Sen. Runner: Prison realignment may adversely affect low-income neighborhoods
It’s been just over a year since the controversial prison realignment act was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. And although much speculation and concern surrounds Assembly Bill 109, authorities are divided over whether the program is to blame for a recent rise in burglaries and violent crimes in cities throughout California.
“I don’t know if I can say that AB 109 is the cause of the increase,” Barstow Police Acting Chief Albert Ramirez said. “What I can say is that these offenders know their consequences are going to be lower because of AB 109.”
The supervision of parolees at the county level was a part of AB 109, which aimed to reduce California’s prison population by 33,000 inmates by June 2014. Under the bill, triple-non — non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual — offenders who would’ve been placed on parole will instead be monitored by local county probation agencies.
Sen. Sharon Runner pointed to AB 109 as the cause for crime increases across the state — especially in low-income areas, she said in a prepared statement.
“Crime is up and it’s because of AB 109,” agreed Rick Roelle, a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Lieutenant who works with rehabilitating inmates.
“It’s a travesty. All these inmates are being released into the community, it’s added to the homelessness problem and the homeless issue has increased.”
Roelle said it’s a misconception that these offenders are non-serious because their previous offenses are often overlooked.
“They’re not looking at the offender’s history, so once they are released they are reoffending,” Roelle said. “That’s why we see a large spike in burglaries and those types of crimes.”
Roelle explained that AB 109 was passed after the state was sued because inmates were not getting proper medical care because of overcrowding.
“Probation is doing what they can,” Roelle said. “They’re trying their best, but it’s not good for society and it’s not good for the community.”
By Lynnea Lombardo and Katie Lucia, Staff Writers
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