Reader Input: Realignment misconstrued

-A +A

I’m really tired of reading and hearing stories about how AB 109 is releasing violent criminals onto the streets. It does no such thing. Not one person was released from state prison by that law.

The principal effects of the law are two-fold. First, going forward, people who are convicted of non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual crimes, and who also have no prior convictions for violent, serious, or sexual crimes, will now serve any future sentences that used to be served in state prison, in the county jail instead. The length of those sentences has not changed.

Second, people currently in state prison for a non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual crime, and who do not have any prior convictions for violent, serious, or sexual crimes, who were already scheduled to be released on parole, will now be supervised post-release by the county Probation Department, rather than by the state Parole Office.

Part of the law provided extra funding to the counties to help them cope with these new responsibilities.

In Placer County that money is being spent on extra correctional officers for the jail, extra Probation Officers to supervise those released to them, and new treatment programs, both in the jail and after release, to help try to rehabilitate many of these people so that they break the endless cycle of crime by addressing the problems that lead them to crime in the first place.

I believe that our local Probation Department does a much better job of keeping tabs on people than state Parole ever did. So please stop the fear-mongering, and get your facts straight.

Jonathan Richter, Auburn