SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on Tuesday (April 5) signed AB 109, which makes fundamental changes to California’s correctional system to stop the costly, ineffective and unsafe “revolving door” of lower-level offenders and parole violators through our state prisons.
“For too long, the state’s prison system has been a revolving door for lower-level offenders and parole violators who are released within months—often before they are even transferred out of a reception center,” Brown said in his AB 109 signing message. “Cycling these offenders through state prisons wastes money, aggravates crowded conditions, thwarts rehabilitation, and impedes local law enforcement supervision.”
AB 109 changes the law to realign certain responsibilities for lower level offenders, adult parolees and juvenile offenders from state to local jurisdictions. AB 109 will give local law enforcement the right and the ability to manage offenders in smarter and cost-effective ways.
By its terms, AB109 will not go into effect until a community corrections grant program is created by statute and funding is appropriated. “I will not sign any legislation that would seek to implement this legislation without the necessary funding,” Brown said.
Brown’s efforts to secure constitutionally protected funding for realignment were opposed by Republican legislators. “In the coming weeks, and for as long as it takes, I will vigorously pursue my plan to balance the state’s budget and prevent reductions to public safety through a constitutional guarantee,” Brown said.
Under AB 109:
• No inmates currently in state prison will be released early.
• All felons sent to state prison will continue to serve their entire sentence.
• All felons who are convicted of a serious or violent offense—including sex offenders and child molesters—will go to state prison.
• Felons who are not eligible for state prison can serve their sentence at the local level.
Brown also signed AB 111 today, which gives counties additional flexibility to access funding to increase local jail capacity for the purpose of implementing AB 109.