Cities and counties across the state are struggling to meet the increasing demands of housing convicted felons who until last year went to state prison. This local mandate was imposed by the Governor’s realignment plan.
With a heavy load of convicted criminals in their jails, local jurisdictions have been forced to release defendants awaiting trial as well as convicted felons who have not completed their terms.
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Understanding this public safety dilemma, State Senator Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) introduced legislation to change current law.
“Families should feel safe to walk the streets of their neighborhoods,” said Runner. “Repeat offenders with four or more felonies or felony convictions should not go to county jail to exhaust limited resources intended for offenders with high potential for rehabilitation.”
“There’s a fundamental difference between a person who consistently commits felonies and a person who made a mistake and can successfully resume their lives as good citizens,” Runner added.
Specifically, Senate Bill 1435 provided that a defendant who is convicted of a felony and has three or more prior felony convictions belongs in state prison.
Aimed at making the Governor’s realignment plan more workable for cities and counties, Senate Bill 1435 was supported by the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, California District Attorneys Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Los Angeles Police Protective League and California State Sheriffs’ Association.
Senate Bill 1435 failed passage in the Senate Public Safety Committee by a vote of three to four.
Unfortunately, the committee concluded that a career criminal can remain eligible for county jail even if he has accumulated seven prior felonies.
Runner vowed to continue her effort to improve public safety for Californians.
“Realignment does not work, especially as budget cuts compromise the capacity of sheriffs and police departments. Making changes to this onerous law will be an effort that I will continue to push.”