December 2, 2011 > Realignment plan passes in Alameda County
Realignment plan passes in Alameda County
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed the Public Safety Realignment Implementation Plan presented by the County's Community Corrections Partnership (CCP). For the past several months, the CCP has been meeting regularly to develop what County officials call an innovative and progressive Plan, which reflects shared values of ensuring public safety, reducing recidivism, and promoting community-based alternatives to incarceration.
"I am very proud of our public safety partners who have crafted an ambitious and exciting plan to address this significant new criminal justice population in a meaningful and successful way," said Board of Supervisors' President Nate Miley.
The Plan was adopted in compliance with new State law that shifts responsibility for lower level felony offenders from the State to the counties effective October 1, and reflects a comprehensive approach to ensuring public safety while addressing the needs of the distinct new populations to be served under realignment: those released from State prison to community supervision, those who previously would have been sent to State prison upon conviction for specified crimes, and a majority of parole violators. The Plan, approved by the Board of Supervisors on November 21, emphasizes the strategic use of resources and programming to provide targeted services to these populations based on an individualized assessment of risks and needs.
"We have the right combination of supervision, services, supports and opportunities in this plan to be successful," said Chief Probation Officer David Muhammad.
The new realignment legislation mandated the creation of a county CCP Executive Committee. In Alameda County the Executive Committee consisted of Chief Probation Officer Muhammad as the Chair, Sheriff Greg Ahern, District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, Public Defender Diane Bellas, Presiding Judge Jon Rolefson, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts who was later replaced by City of Alameda Police Chief Michael Noonan, and Health Care Services Director Alex Briscoe.
"This plan reflects strong collaboration within the partnership and includes several innovative features that will protect public safety and mitigate the impacts of realignment on our community,'' said Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator. These innovations include a coordinated, inter-agency focus on employment, and the establishment of a Transition Center at Santa Rita Jail, which will be co-staffed by the County's Probation Department, Health Care and Social Services agencies, and will serve as a critical bridge between the custody and community settings.
"The Sheriff's Office is looking forward to working in collaboration with county agencies and community-based organizations to ensure the success of this Plan. The Sheriff's Office is committed to continuing to offer a wide variety of services to those entrusted to its care, and believes that Realignment affords us the opportunity to expand on our existing programs", said Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern.
In addition to managing a new criminal justice population, Alameda County has the additional challenge of doing so with far fewer resources than most other similar sized counties. The State's funding allocation formula for realignment put the County at a disadvantage due to its successful history of keeping most lower-level offenders at the local level, which this new legislation seeks to do statewide. An example is that though Alameda and San Bernardino counties have nearly the same crime rate, Alameda County received more than $16 million less than San Bernardino in first year Realignment funding, due to the formula's heavy emphasis on pre-Realignment State prison remittance rates.
"Our county has designed a tremendous implementation plan, even though we have received an unfairly low allocation from the State," said Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, who chairs the Board of Supervisors' Public Protection Committee. "We will be fighting to increase our allocation amount to ensure we are protecting public safety, and that the citizens of Alameda County receive the services they deserve."