Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., flanked by the state's top law enforcement leaders, today pledged "maximum state support" as local officials begin California's historic realignment to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's prison-reduction order.
"The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered California to reduce its prison population without delay and realignment is the most viable plan to comply with the Court's order -- it ensures that the most dangerous offenders serve their full sentences in state prison," Brown said. "Today I am pledging maximum state support to local officials: full funding, flexibility to use local solutions, and a future ballot measure guaranteeing continuous funding. We can't overturn the Supreme Court's decision, but we can work together to fix our broken system and protect public safety," Brown added.
State and local officials have worked together for months preparing for the transfer to local government of funds and a range of responsibilities, including supervising parolees, managing lower-level offenders, and providing mental health, substance abuse, and child protective services.
"We think local government can do this and can do it better," said Yolo County Supervisor and California State Association of Counties (CSAC) First Vice President Mike McGowan. "That said, we need the tools, which in this case, means a constitutional guarantee that the funding necessary for success, is protected for the future. We appreciate that Governor Brown has strongly stated his support of this approach."
"In working with Governor Brown we have forged a proper plan, scheme and design to implement realignment on October 1, 2011, thereby allowing local government to administer services, thus reducing recidivism," said Merced County Sheriff and California State Sheriffs' Association (CSSA) President Mark N. Pazin.
In January 2010, a Three-Judge Court ordered the state to reduce the inmate population in its 33 adult prisons to 137.5 percent of design capacity. The Three-Judge Court's order was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2011. As a result, the State is mandated to lower its prison population by approximately 30,000 inmates by June 27, 2013.
The budget and legislation Governor Brown signed in June provide the legal framework for realignment and allocations of revenue to counties for their new responsibilities. The total funding provided to the counties this year will be $5.6 billion, and it is expected to grow to $6.8 billion by 2014.
Governor Brown was joined today by:
Matthew Cate, Secretary of CDCR
Sheriff Mark Pazin, Merced County
Supervisor Mike McGowan, Yolo County
Officer Isabelle Voit, Solano County Chief Probation
Chief Scott Seaman, Los Gatos
Supervisor David Finigan, Del Norte County
District Attorney Carl Adams, Sutter County
Chief Rick Braziel, Sacramento Police Department
Patricia Ryan, Executive Director, California Mental Health Directors Association
Frank Mecca, Executive Director, County Welfare Directors Association of California
Tom Renfree, Executive Director, County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators Association of California