San Diego County is preparing for the shift of thousands of offenders from state to local supervision using a plan approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins presented the plan, which outlines strategies to implement AB 109, the 2011 Criminal Justice Realignment Act. Jenkins is the head of the Community Corrections Partnership, whose executive committee was responsible for the implementation plan under AB 109. It wasn’t the original design of the CCP, but like counties across the state, these boards are finding themselves developing plans that will provide wholesale change in the state’s criminal justice system.

“We know we can provide better public safety services than the state, but we cannot allow them to pass the buck without also passing along the dollars,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn.

AB 109 implements many reforms, including redefining responsibilities and allotting funding. However, one of the defining aspects of AB 109 is the transfer of some 4,000 offenders from the state’s watch to the supervision of San Diego County.

“About 4,000 offenders will now fall under the supervision of our Probation Department and the Sheriff’s Department. Our plan efficiently uses the limited funds available by building on the successful strategies of the local criminal justice community to reduce crime and recidivism while keeping the community safe,” said Jenkins.

About half of the criminals are post-release offenders who would have been supervised by state parole upon release but will now be supervised by the County Probation Department. The other half are nonviolent, non-serious, non-sex offenders who will serve their sentences in County jails instead of state prison.

However, finding beds for 2,000 incarcerated individuals will be a challenge to a jail system with only 800 beds available. However, through increasing efficiency in jails, incorporating re-entry principles into prisoner’s daily routines, and other strategies, the CCP hopes to reduce recidivism and thereby decrease the demand for beds.

The implementation plan has five main components: 1) enhance pre-trial processes to more effectively utilize current jail capacity; 2) improve and streamline felony settlement; 3) encourage the use of evidence-based practices into sentencing for felony offenders; 4) employ alternative custody options and in custody programming; 5) provide evidence-based supervision and intervention services for post-release offenders.

Members of the Community Corrections Partnership executive committee include the Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, local law enforcement, court, and Health and Human Services Agency. For more information, visit the Community Corrections Partnership website.