Reader Input: Criminal realignment program works

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Re: AB109 story and Visual Viewpoint, Oct. 17.

The Auburn Journal published a story and an editorial cartoon about AB 109 and “criminal realignment.” Neither of these pieces correctly reflects the current impact of realignment on Placer County’s justice system, which includes the jail.

For the past year I attended the County’s Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) meetings. This group consists of representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, local police chiefs, the Probation Department, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, Superior Court and the Department of Health and Human Services.

In January after months of meetings and work, the CCP presented an AB 109 implementation plan to the Board of Supervisors. The board approved the plan which includes staff and programs to help reduce recidivism among people who have been convicted of a crime.

The CCP met to review the impacts and progress of this plan after one year of “realignment.” Initial reports from the various agencies showed preliminary indicators of success. There is evidence of the effectiveness of these new programs and services.

The programs work with probationers helping them deal with substance abuse, learn life skills and understand how they can become productive members of the community.

The goal of Placer County’s realignment efforts is to ensure public safety by breaking the cycle of recidivism. Today, a year after implementation of AB109, recidivism among post-release community supervision (PCRS) offenders is only 40 percent — much lower than expected.

Rocklin’s Police Chief says that crime is down in his city and the police chiefs indicate things are going very well. Probation reports that the first six PCRS individuals should complete their term of supervision at the end of October. The court reports that the impact created by realignment has been less than projected.

Things are improving because of a coordinated effort supported by the Board of Supervisors. The key to this success is the treatment, services and programs available to inmates and probationers.

Let us hope that the county will build on this momentum by expanding the use of such services and programs.

Patricia Jensen, North Auburn, Placer People of Faith Together