Following my post last week on the state and county ballot measures, I’ve had some inquiries about Proposition 57 in particular. It seems that people have heard from the DA that a yes vote will cost the County $, so they ask why would I be recommending that.
As I mentioned last week, the DAs and the Probation Officers are in a dead heat in terms of thumbs up, and thumbs down on this one. I’m going with the Probation Officers . They have been correct in their guidance in steering us to a reduced recidivism model.
But I looked into the argument that County costs will go up. Maybe they will short-term, but I’m a long-term view kinda person when it comes to good government. And this is a pay-now-or-pay-more-later situation. Read the Leg Analyst Office analysis (http://www.lao.ca.gov/BallotAnalysis/Proposition?number=57&year=2016):
- “Acceleration of County Costs. Because the measure would result in the early release of some individuals who are supervised by county probation officers following their release from prison, the measure would likely increase the size of the probation population in the near term. In the absence of the measure, counties would have eventually incurred these probation costs in the future.
- “County Costs. If fewer youths are tried and convicted as adults, the measure would also have a number of fiscal effects on counties. First, as discussed above, counties would be responsible for paying a portion of the costs of housing these youths in state juvenile facilities. In addition, county probation departments would be responsible for supervising these youths following their release. Since juvenile court proceedings are generally shorter than adult court proceedings, the above county costs would be partially offset by some savings. For example, county agencies involved in court proceedings for these youths—such as district attorneys, public defenders, and county probation—would experience a reduction in workload. In total, we estimate that the net costs to counties due to the above effects would likely be a few million dollars annually.”
But that’s state wide. The cost to Napa County would be small. Even though some people from prison could be released early for our supervision, we have a low rate of cases sent to prison.
Recidivism rates in California are some of highest in nation. Proposition 57 focuses on evidence-based rehabilitation and ensures no one is automatically released.
Most counties are not doing what Napa is doing: demonstrating that our recidivism rate can be reduced. It takes a many-year $-investment to do that, which we have been willing and able to do. In addition, we are one of only two counties (of 58) in the state where the Board of Supervisors run the jail; in all others, the Sheriffs do.
The real bottom line is not fiscal: we are headed for another state (or federal court) mandated reduction in state prison population. Without changes that give us flexibility in dealing with these prisoners, either more ‘bad guys’ are out on the streets (and then ultimately in our county jails), or just ultimately in our county jails.
Categories: General Information