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Two Weeks into Realignment, Counties Still Adjusting

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, October 17, 2011

Whether they like realignment or not, county sheriffs, district attorneys and probation chiefs know it's now the law of the land.  So even though Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley calls realignment "revolutionary" …

Cooley: "And like a lot of revolutions, there might be a lot of blood in the streets."

… he still has to deal with hundreds of non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders.  They would have previously gone to state prison but now are under LA County's control.

Cooley: "We're primarily trying to come up with a tracking system to see how these individuals who are greatly benefitting from this new sentencing scheme actually behave downstream."

The state is sending counties money to spend on those offenders.  And each of California's 58 counties gets to decide where it should go: more jail beds, alternative sentencing programs, rehabilitation efforts, and so on.  Sacramento County Chief Probation Officer Don Meyer is a realignment supporter.  He says all inmates who the state has released to Sacramento County have shown up - and been assigned to probation officers or rehabilitation programs.

Meyer: "We're providing services. We're seeing people. We're gonna hold them accountable. We will supervise 100 percent of this group."

As for fears that state inmates would flood the streets and become repeat offenders…

Meyer: "Well, nobody's been arrested.  We haven't gotten any calls, frantic calls."

On that, Cooley agrees - but says two weeks' time is too soon to draw any conclusions.

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