What is AB 109?
AB 109 shifts the responsibility for housing many inmates from the state to counties. This shift from state to county is also being called “prison realignment.” Up to 30,000 state prison inmates could be transferred to county jails over three years, under the bill. Since the passing of the bill, county jail authorities are reporting a 100% increase on inmate to inmate assaults and a 50% increase on inmate to officer assaults. As if this increased violence inside the system wasn’t bad enough it looks like the effects are spilling out into the streets and into our neighborhoods as well.
Recent shootings in Southern California have police questioning if AB109 to blame for the outbreak of gun violence. County jails received thousands of felons from California State Prisons in 2011 when the state legislated “inmate realignment” to deal with state prison overcrowding. The realignment left county jails across the state so overcrowded that “low-level inmates” have been released early to be rehabilitated on the streets as parolees.
“In 16 months, we’ve seen initially an increase in property crimes and the predictions were that would then transition to violent crimes. I think we’re starting to see that now,” Covina Police Chief Kim Raney said to ABC. There have been eleven shootings in just the last three days across Southern California, ABC reports. In Downey, a suspect shot two people in the parking lot of a restaurant. In Panorama City, one man was shot and killed as he walked down a street. In Echo Park, one man was critically wounded in a shooting.
“I think the reality is that we are dealing with people in our communities who have historically have either been in county jail or state prison, and because of re-alignment, budget issues, those people are no longer in custody, they are being minimally supervised and they’re back in our communities,” Raney said.
California legislators agree. They have 13 pending bills that would send some inmates back to state prisons, improve supervision of parolees and increase penalties for sex offenders and individuals who illegally possess or sell firearms, California Healthline reports.
“[Realignment] unleashed an unprecedented crime wave affecting everyone in the state of California,” GOP Senator Jim Nielsen said to Capitol Public Radio. “I’ll argue no bill ever passed by this legislature has had more dire and severe and egregious consequences.”
What are your thoughts on AB109?
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