First year of prison realignment has seen mixed results

County jail populations up

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - It’s been one year since prison realignment started in California.

The plan sends more offenders to county jail instead of state prison to save the state money and reduce overcrowding.

But here in Kern County our jail population is up 47 percent.

The county jail can only hold about 2700 people, so some of the offenders are put on supervised release.

Something state officials support.

"Realignment also gave the counties incentives, including money to look at other ways to supervise the lowest offenders, for example GPS technology, and so the counties have more flexibility than the state does in using alternative forms of supervision. With the state we got prison and we got parole. The counties have more options and it’s a better use of resources," said Jeffrey Callison, spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Kern County officials can’t show a direct link, but they are worried supervised release is causing a jump in crime numbers.

"There has been an increase in property crimes like burglary over 20 percent robberies over 20 percent grand theft auto between 18 and 19 percent," Zimmermann said.

But Zimmermann also says some crimes have decreased.

"Homicides are down rapes are down," Zimmermann said.

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