In 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill (AB) 109 and AB 117, historic legislation to help California close the revolving door of low-level inmates cycling in and out of state prisons. It is the cornerstone of California’s solution for reducing the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prisons to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 27, 2013, as ordered by the Three-Judge Court and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. All provisions of AB 109 and AB 117 are prospective and implementation of the 2011 Realignment Legislation began October 1, 2011.
The 2011 Realignment is funded with a dedicated portion of state sales tax revenue and Vehicle License Fees (VLF) outlined in trailer bills AB 118 and SB 89. The latter provided revenue to counties for local public safety programs and the former established the Local Revenue Fund for counties to receive the revenues and appropriate funding for 2011 Public Safety Realignment.
Inmates released from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilition after serving a commitment for non-serious, non-violent, or non-high-risk sex offenses (regardless of prior convictions), are supervised by county probation departments. This population, under Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS), was formerly supervised by state parole. There is also a population of offenders, which under Section 1170(h) of the Penal Code are not eligible for incarceration in prison but rather can serve a sentence in county jail. This group can either be ordered by the Court to serve their sentence in jail or to “split” the sentence between jail custody and a separate period of Mandatory Supervision (MS).
In San Mateo County the goal is to develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive and coordinated public safety realignment plan that reduces recidivism and crime in the realigned population. Targeted goals include:
- Protecting public safety through appropriate custody, supervision, and law enforcement activities.
- Create opportunities for rehabilitation and recovery.
- Provide case management, substance abuse, mental health, vocational and housing support services.
In response a specialized PRCS/MS unit was created within the probation department. To that end a dedicated Probation Services Manager, deputy probation officers, and clerical staff with knowledge and experience supervising an offender population requiring intensive services were put into place. Close collaboration with the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and police departments as well as allied county agencies including Human Services, Behavioral Health, and Correctional Health has facilitated intensive supervision of this population as well as provided resources for offenders that include medical, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services and emergency services (food/shelter/transportation).