Officials Meet to Discuss the Impact of Prison Realignment

On May 21, 2014, The San Diego District Attorney Office held the California Black-Brown Summit. The focus of this conference was to discuss the growing problem of criminal reentry into the justice system by women and people of color. This conference presented a rare opportunity for local and state leaders to share data and discuss programs to help keep inmates from getting out of prison then ending up back in prison only a short time later.

At the center of this conference was the impact of Assembly Bill 109. AB 109 was dubbed "the cornerstone of California's solution to reduce prison overcrowding, costs, and recidivism" by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2011. One major change AB 109 made was in regards to parole. Instead of needing to report to state parole officers after certain inmates are released from a California prison, they now report to county probation officers. The goal of AB 109 was to shrink California's inmate population by 137.5 percent. While AB 109 is working to decrease California's prison population, Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is working to keep their clients out of prison entirely by using their combined 50 years of experience.

Here are some facts and figures to help you understand how AB 109 is affecting California's prison population.

  • Before the introduction of AB 109, over 60,000 felon parole violators were returning to prison every year. Come the end of November 2013, there were merely 25 felony parole violators in prison due to the fact that they would now serve time in county jail.
  • As a result of AB 109, first time offenders who committed low-level crimes would serve their time in county jail. Before AB 109, up to 65,000 inmates were being transferred from courthouses to prisons every year.
  • Ultimately, by placing low-level criminals and parole violators in county jail, the prison population has decreased by approximately 25,000.

It is often thought that under AB 109, early release is possible. Nowhere in the law does it say anything about early release. However, AB 109 does make it so state prisoners are under the supervision of local level probation rather than California Parole Officers. Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP will fight on your behalf to keep you out of any form of custody. The attorneys at Lessem & Newstat, LLP have a strong grasp on the changing California laws and know that their efforts could help keep you out of prison. Contact Lessem & Newstat, LLP if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges before its too late to get help.