Prison realignment strains county jails, study says

The jail population has swelled in San Diego County since prison realignment was instituted statewide three years ago, adding to the strain of area law enforcement, according to a study released Friday by San Diego Association of Governments.

While the number of annual bookings into local detention centers has dropped in recent years, the average daily inmate population ballooned from 102 percent of overall jail capacity in 2011 to 113 percent in 2012, according to the study.

The most overcrowded was the women’s jail in Santee, which was at 174 percent of capacity. An expanded facility is under construction adjacent to the current jail.

Only the San Diego Central Jail and Vista Detention Facility — out of the county’s seven jailhouses — were under capacity in 2012.

The realignment was brought about by state budget constraints and federal court orders to reduce overcrowding in California’s prisons. It required some convicts who would ordinarily be sentenced to state prison to instead serve local time, and for local probation authorities to supervise former inmates who have served their time.

Local law enforcement officials attribute the policy to a crime rate increase.

“Public safety realignment has put an enormous strain on local law enforcement, in particular the Sheriff’s Department and the county Probation Department,’’ said Cynthia Burke, director of criminal justice research for the regional agency.

The percentage of jailhouse inmates who would have been in state prison under the old system, but are serving local time now, has risen from 11 percent in 2011 to 35 percent last year, according to Burke.

She also said the portion of maximum-security prisoners, those who have committed assaults or been deemed to be either a behavioral or escape risk, increased from 11 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2012.

Burke lauded area law enforcement for “devising innovative programs and strategies” that help realigned offenders reenter society.

—City News Service

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  5. State Prison Overhaul Long Overdue

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Feb 7 2014. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona, Sheriff/Fire. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Prison realignment strains county jails, study says”

  1. Marceline

    Ya, this is happening because instead of putting the parolee's who violate. or the non violent burglar , or narcotics offender in prison, because their sentence received exceeds the limit one is allowed to serve in county jail…..they, unless a violent offender…are keeping them in county jail for everything under 5 yrs???? This is so not to crowd our already bulging state inmate population. Which the state has been ordered thru the federal government to fix. The state of California was order to reduce the inmate population by about 10000 inmate,and submit proposal which can be an effective preventative solution. Now I just read that California has 2 more years to accomplish this. Do you know that the state has been housing over 10000 inmates in other states privately operated facility's ? Thats so completely crazy…perhaps its time for some eyes to open and realize…..we are not winning the war on drugs by arresting the common drug user. Im not suggesting that a blind eye be turned to that….Im thinking possibly a different form of punishment that the individual and public can benefit from. When our local Sheriff dept. arrested a person under the influence it should be a book and release right at the substation w/ a ticket and a court date, because putting so much effort into busting the user really just hurts our community. This happens by the new road blocks put in front of the offender. It begins to create economic disabilities for the individual causing a ripple effect down to the community. Because I hate to tell you this the offender isnt going anywhere….meaning they wont be moving from there town…its home… due to some ineffective punishments imposed on the offender once released (and probably a healthy number could be avoided from going into jail) but once released they have requirements and orders they have to complete in order to stay out of jail or prison. Do the math tho….these implements cost money and require transportation, and because there is no solution as to a release to work program……the majority come out homeless and jobless….how do you suggest they pay for these order classes? and how will they get there…..soon when the person is scrambling to comply but road blocks with money start to pile up…..they do what they do to get money and remain out of the system…..however most lack in job experience and a hustle is all they know sooo back to the hussle they go. and constantly being pulled over or approached by the local law because certain rights are forfeited as part of your sentencing …takes away their search and seizure rights thru the 4th amendment of our United States Constitution …..this form of law supervision start to drive a person into the ground….It helps nothing and wins nothing….it just creates one more obstacle an already struggling person is having….and by the local law doing this….makes us no closer to beating the war on drugs nor does it help our very crippled jail and prison system…..id hate to see some of the real doozzies get lessor sentencing due to the over crowding….because a lot of money is being wasted with some arrests that are not necessary and other options could be found. Personally Id like to see when the local law reports a bust or a sting operation… that the cost of such be disclosed to the public….also that photos be published supporting the evidence they say they have found. I think a great deal of tax payers and citizens of the community may be in for a surprise…..sometimes things arent as they seem.

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