Butte County Public Safety Realignment and Postrelease Community Supervision 2011 Implementation Plan

8 Aug

Here’s the report I referenced in my last post:

Click to access Butte_County_2011-2012.pdf


I couldn’t find a more recent report, although I’m sure the county board of supervisors has been kept informed of this program by staff. I did find a 2015 analysis done by a group of faculty members at Chico State:

Click to access Navigating_the_storm_three_years_after_109.pdf


The executive summary:

“October 1st of 2014 marked the third-year implementation anniversary of California’s Criminal Justice Realignment (AB 109) legislation. California’s AB 109 realigned sentencing options for certain non-violent, non-sexual, and non-serious felony offenses, precluding incarceration in state prison. This less punishment, more rehabilitation sentencing structure shifted correctional supervision to county criminal justice systems (namely, county jails and probation departments) across the State. Along with this widespread jurisdictional decentralization, came many concerns regarding the impact of such a dramatic shift in correctional supervision.”

The authors studied “the change in workload for the District Attorney’s Office,  focusing on outcomes such as the number of case filings by specific offense categories, failure to appear charge accumulation, and total number of charges over time.”

The made a “comparison of recidivism outcomes of pre-AB 109 offenders to recidivism outcomes of post-AB 109 offenders.”

“These PCS offenders were tracked for three years to better understand their recidivism outcomes and impact on the local criminal justice system. Their cumulative impact on the jail and overall recidivism was assessed through exploring their total number of times entering the county jail, the proportion of those bookings that turned into formalized charges, and the proportion of those charges that ultimately became convictions.”

And here’s what I’ve suspected:

“Findings reported here substantiate reports of increased workload and changing needs on local criminal justice agencies.  A comparison of pre-AB 109 to post-AB 109 case processing statistics revealed a non-trivial increase in the number of failure to appear charges and the total charges per case for the Butte County District Attorney’s Office. Even after controlling for other factors (such as the defendant’s age), Realignment was correlated with a significant increase in workload. In concert with findings that a portion of the Post-Release Community Supervision (PCS) offenders placed a disproportionate burden on the Butte County Jail, these results suggest the increase was system-wide across the local criminal justice agencies.”

Here’s an understatement: ” Arguably, the complexities of this sentencing reform have surpassed the anticipated workload increases associated with allocated funding.”

And here’s the “complexity” – “Using a cohort of 72 PCS offenders, we discovered that 40 (56%) recidivated during the three year follow-up period. “

Here’s why I quit riding my  bike around town – “PCS offenders were most likely to be booked into the County Jail for (a) possessing a controlled substance or (b) resisting or obstructing a peace officer. Other top offenses included possession of drug paraphernalia, being under the influence of a controlled substance, driving under the influence (DUI), violation of protective order, and failure to appear for work release programs. “

This corresponds with the police report I looked at yesterday – offender after offender was booked as “under the influence” of unidentified substances, and there were enough DUI’s to make a person think twice about going out into Chico streets. And I’m talking, 2:00 in the afternoon, all times of day, there are inebriated people operating motor vehicles on our streets. 

Give that report a read for yourself, I just wanted to highlight the conclusions. Read what it says about them committing new crimes while they are supposed to be “under supervision.”   You may conclude, as I have, that AB109 is not working, and our county supervisors need to be told to stop taking in transfers. 

But it’s not just the county – the city has policies that exacerbate the situation. According to the report,

“Qualitative data suggest that officers have continued to maintain a service orientation in their approach to supervision. Caudill and colleagues (2012) found that, during the first year of the Alternative Custody Supervision Unit at the Butte County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), 67% of all officer-participant interactions were service as opposed to enforcement-oriented.”

Meaning, instead of arresting people for criminal acts, Chico PD routinely “council and move them along…” Even under our new chief.  Is this appropriate given the level of recidivism? Do the cops really need to wait until an offender does something really bad before they arrest and incarcerate them? Well, that’s city policy, and I’m guessing it also has to do with the perceived overcrowding problem at Butte County Jail. 

So this stinking fish has many heads – five county supervisors and seven city council members who continue to make decisions based on paying salaries and benefits rather than what’s really good for our community. 

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