Counties have undertaken a huge segment of the state’s former responsibility, and now the ACLU says their actions are actually counter to the original Realignment intent.
The ACLU says that the money sent to the counties is being used to build more jails, not reforming how the jail systems work. Their study found that 71 percent of all inmates in county facilities are awaiting trial, a number that increased from the mid-fifty percent range in 1999. The ACLU says their report shows that counties are not finding ways to reduce prison populations through drug treatment and electronic monitoring.
As the California State Association of Counties works with the State to finalize budgets for next year’s realignment money, the ACLU is asking for the money to be distributed, in part, as a reward for finding ways to not imprison people. Riverside, Imperial, and San Bernardino are going to receive too much money in their opinion, because they send so many felons to state prisons.
County Sheriffs have said that the ACLU doesn’t know have a realistic grasp on the issues facing jails.
From the Contra Costa Times:
California may be dismantling its prison-industrial complex, but it’s quickly replacing it with a jail-industrial complex, a new report released late Tuesday warns.
The state’s prison population has plummeted — by 22,440 inmates, or about 15 percent — since October, according to the report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. That’s when the state responded to a court order to reduce overcrowding by adopting realignment, which shifts responsibility to counties for imprisoning and rehabilitating nonviolent felons.
Read the full article here.