Assembly Bill 109, referred to as the Criminal Justice Realignment, was signed into law by Governor Brown in April of 2011. The provisions of AB 109 took effect on October 1, 2011 and represent the most significant change in decades within the criminal justice system to punishment, sentencing and corrections.
AB 109 was the governor’s response to a federal court order to reduce California’s state prison population and to reduce skyrocketing prison costs. Realignment focuses on several aspects: punishment, sentencing, and supervision. With respect to punishment and sentencing, AB109 reclassifies the punishment for 500 felonies from state prison to county jail. These 500 felonies are now deemed to be “non-serious, non-violent or non sex-related”. Rather than being committed to state prison as in the past, criminal offenders convicted under the “three non’s" will now serve out their sentences in county jails.
With respect to supervision, realignment shifts governmental supervision responsibilities from state parole to local municipalities or probation. Previously, criminal offenders released from state prison would be monitored by state parole for a designated period of time. Now, criminal offenders serving terms for any of the newly reclassified felonies will instead be released into a newly created supervision program run by county probation. This new program is called the “Post Release Community Supervision” program.
To further realize the goal of reducing Californian state prison population, realignment will take approximately one-third of California’s current prisoners and “realign” them from state prison to local county jails and county probation programs. County jails are extremely overcrowded, and therefore, if a criminal falls into one of the “three non’s,” they are most likely going to have a significantly reduced sentence in county jail; if they even serve any county jail time. Many of these “three non” prisoners are “realigned” or released from county jail, sometimes with ankle monitors, to their homes to serve out their sentences.
It is important to know how realignment will impact Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach may not have many Post Release Community Supervised subjects residing within our community or even expected to be released in our City, but as in many cities throughout California, it is hard to decipher where one city’s border stops and another begins. The bottom line is more criminals will be on the streets and significant increases in crime are already occurring.
Our police department and other police departments throughout the county consider this issue to be extremely serious. The Manhattan Beach Police Department is dedicated to keeping our community safe and we are taking a progressive and proactive approach to this issue. We do however need your help. We are calling upon you, the citizens, to be our eyes and ears and ask that you join the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Watch Program to keep informed of crime in your area. Also, please call the Police Department anytime you see something suspicious and let your police officers check it out. Your call is important. Help us to help you.
For more information about Neighborhood Watch, please call (310) 802-5183. To report suspicious behavior or if an emergency, call 911. For non-emergency calls, contact the Police Department business line at (310) 802-5140.