Are increases in crime the result of “Realignment”?

UC Police arresting a young man

(Whatever the cause, your prayers are needed)

There are always two or more sides to a story. And in the case of AB 109, the 423-page measure called “Public Safety Realignment” signed into law October 1, 2011 by Governor Brown, there are those in the Governor’s camp with “success stories” illustrating how the law is working.  And there are those who oppose Realignment, providing explicit “proof” it isn’t.

For example, after the law took effect, the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (CJLF), together with a number of police chiefs and sheriffs throughout the state began to report on new crimes committed by those released from prison, left free and unsupervised by Realignment.

And then in January 2013, the FBI preliminary report for 2012 showed increases in crime in California after six straight years of decreases.

The CJLF also cites FBI statistics showing that, while rapes were down nationally, they increased by 6.4% in California.  Property crimes also dropped nationally in 2012, but increased in California by 9.7%.  Even more dramatic, auto thefts in the state showed a 15% increase, while the national rate increased by 1.3%.

On the flip side there are successes. Like the AB-109 Auto Shop in Red Bluff. Deputy Sheriff Rich Ryan, the program’s overseer, says the program is a success.  AB-109 allows inmates to work on county vehicles, learning a valuable trade, while saving the county money.  And not just on the work done, but the $78 a day it would cost if inmates were in jail through cost avoidance. Chief Probation Officer Richard Muench says the program also eases up the overcrowding.

And both Yolo and San Joaquin Counties say crime is down in those areas.

Since the implementation of AB 109, the state prison population has been reduced by 27,000 inmates—the largest reduction of state prison inmates in the nation’s history.

And to comply with a Federal Court Order, the state must again release an additional 9,000 inmates from state prisons.

But not all inmates affected by AB 109 are set “free” in our communities.

Now that the State has shifted the responsibility for criminals convicted of what are defined as “low level” crimes–which include felonies like assault, spousal abuse, commercial burglary, drug dealing, identity theft, and auto theft—back to the counties, the law requires counties to sentence them.

And sentencing may require some to fulfill their terms in already over-crowded county jails, or a combination of jail time and probation, home detention, a treatment program or a job training program like the one in Red Bluff.

These monumental changes in our state prisons, county jails and their impact on our local communities need to be faced head-on. The problems faced by inmates, by those in our criminal justice system and by those who work in our prisons and jails won’t solve themselves.

While there are numerous opinions on all sides of the Realignment issue on how to solve these pressing problems, ultimately, it’s the answers of our all-wise, infinitely intelligent God we need—which applies to every single issue we face. And He will share—actually, He is right now sharing—those answers as we humbly listen for His voice.

As God is ever-present, isn’t it logical then that His answers are ever-present, right here to be revealed?

No doubt we all have a stance on the issue of Realignment. As well thought out as our positions on this issue may be, let’s remember that God’s solutions blesses all—not just one group here or there. God’s answers don’t take human “sides”. Like sunshine, His answers, His blessings embrace everyone at once. Let’s pray, and hear God’s all-encompassing solutions—just at hand, as Jesus proved by opening the prison doors for the sick, the insane, the disillusioned and the hungry in heart.


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3 thoughts on “Are increases in crime the result of “Realignment”?

  1. Pam Wade Reply

    I was driving home from work at 11 tonight listening to KQED Radio. The California Report was on and it caught my attention. The report, Youth in Stockton Correctional Facility Learn a Business, Repay Victims in Unique Program is running March 7-9. You can down load an audio MP3 or read the report on line. Here are the opening paragraphs. It caught my attention since hearing about the youth facility in Red Bluff that is training juvenile in custody car repair and how successful that program is.

    Kids in the juvenile justice system have plenty of time to think about their futures. But inside one correctional facility in Stockton, a private business lets kids actually rehearse for their futures and help victims along the way.
    Michael Casaglio introduces himself and some of his colleagues at Merit Partners, an environmentally certified electronic recycling business that’s located within the walls of the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility. There’s floor leader Terrance Turner, upcoming floor leader Jordan Rutkes and IT tech Chandler Luce.
    – See more at:

  2. Pam Wade Reply

    I went to an inspiring program at the Crocker Art Museum Feburary 19 sponsored by the Kingsley Art Club. Photographers Nigel Poor and Doug Dertinger discussed their unique photography class at San Quentin Prison that uses alternative forms of expressing photographic imagery without the use of cameras. They also talked about an inmate run radio program they helped initiate that is aired on station kalw 91.7 and can also be heard on their website, San Quentin Prison Report.
    Check out PPOTR Dispatch #15: Photo History Behind Bars, an Interview with Nigel Poor and Doug Dertinger to learn more about the work being done and the wonderful results that bring the Christ to view in these men behind bars.

  3. Jan Reply

    Thanks for your article. Yes, God’s light of Love shines on all alike. No one is left out or behind.

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