Community members and law enforcement talk about the impact of prison realignment


Governor Jerry Brown’s realignment plan is meant to reduce overcrowding in state prison’s by moving inmates to counties throughout California.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office has already added new beds with the prison realignment funds, as the jail capacity increases by three percent.

There are still many questions John Scott has about prison realignment.

“I think the system is broken as it is,” he said.

Scott joined other concerned citizens at CSUB as key stakeholders gave analysis on AB 109 and what lies ahead.

“Economically, we can no longer afford to treat these problems in this manner.  We need to search for creative solutions that cost the tax payer less money,” said Scott.

Currently, the Kern County Jail has 763 inmates serving a sentence of two to five years.  The jail also has 105 people serving five or more years.

“That has a severe impact on staff’s ability to supervise inmates and requires more officers per, less inmates per officers than inmates that are seriously one year sentenced inmates,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

Youngblood says more inmates pose a threat to staff and inmate-to-inmate assaults have already sky rocketed.

“It was implemented with little thought,” said Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green.

The Kern County District Attorney office’s has received 32 percent more felony cases from law enforcement since realignment.  This year, it’s filed close to 1900 more than two years ago.

“Had it been implemented gradually I think that counties such as Kern and some of the valley counties could have dealt with it probably more effectively,” she said.

Mental health officials are working with law enforcement as new inmates arrive.  The sheriff says about 33 percent of current prisoners they know about have a mental health issue.

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