The Counties and the Prison plan

I was going to include this in the other prison diary, but it got a bit bogged down. But this is a key point for the counties: The county prisons are also overcrowded.

In fact, Asm. Mike Davis brought a bill that passed the Assembly before getting bogged down in the Senate, AB 1369, that would have allowed additional flexibility for county jails.

AB 1369 would allow the Sheriff, upon approval by the Board of Supervisors of that County, to place on electronic home monitoring those inmates sentenced to low level felonies, if found eligible under current law. The bill would also impose a penalty for the escape or attempted escape of someone who is placed on involuntary home electronic monitoring. Under current law, there is a punishment for the escape or attempted escape of someone on voluntary home electronic monitoring, which is an oversight.  

“Based on the lack of space in the county jail system, a Federal Court has placed a mandatory cap on the number of inmates in the system. To adhere to the cap, the Sheriff’s department has reduced the percentage of time served by inmates committed to county facilities,” said Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), author of AB 1369. (Davis Press release)

So, in other words, we’re shifting the problem from the state prisons, which admittedly have quite the doozy of a disaster on their hands, to the county jails, which only have a major headache.  But, adding these additional prisoners to the county systems should level out the problems, I suppose.  We’ll have equally messed up prison systems at the county and state level.  

Another point on this is that may not be so apparent from the judges’ perspective, but will be noticeable to the counties: budget impacts.  The counties will now be responsible for housing a lot more prisoners under the plan. Even with the state paying back a portion of the raid on local government funds, the counties are struggling to provide the services they are mandated to do already, adding on some additional prisoners will hardly be welcome news for those Board of Supervisor Budget Committee meetings