California has been under pressure for years to address chronic overcrowding inside 33 adult prisons. In 2011, federal courts required the state to make drastic reductions in its prison inmate population. Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature launched a prison "realignment" that shifted responsibility for thousands of lower-level offenders and parole violators from state prisons to county jails.
Three bills challenge that arrangement.
- Democratic Assembly members Susan Talamantes Eggman, of Stockton, and Ken Cooley, of Rancho Cordova, introduced Assembly Bill 601 to allow parole violators to be returned to state prison for up to one year.
- AB 2, authored by Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, would return sex offenders who violate their parole back to prison "to sever any sentence ordered for that violation."
- Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, earlier proposed Senate Bill 57, which would make removal of a GPS monitoring device an additional crime requiring a prison sentence of 16 months, two years or three years
Eggman said she knows there is a need for some of the realignment changes, but that taking away the option of prison for parole violators is proving dangerous.
"For serious, violent felons and high-risk sex offenders who violate their parole, prison simply can't be off the table," Eggman said.
Lieu's bill was inspired because of reports that thousands of paroled high-risk offenders were disarming their court-ordered GPS devises with little risk of serving time for it.
IMAGE CREDIT: Imates wait in the Roger Bauman intake facility for assessment before integrating into the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer.