Holden Introduces Bill to Change Prison Realignment

Thursday, February 28, 2013

AB 1065 Keeps Criminals with Serious Mental Disorders or Sexual Offenses off County Streets

SACRAMENTO – Following numerous calls for changes to California’s 15-month-old prison realignment program, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) has introduced a measure  to shut the revolving door of state parolees with serious mental disorders and mentally disordered sexual offenders from being transferred to county supervision.

“Many of these felons are being rushed through the system for early release onto our streets and in our communities without regard to the serious mental issues that some of them have,” said Assemblymember Holden.  “As recently reported, this shift has put a tremendous strain on county resources resulting in thousands of sex offenders removing their GPS tracking devices because they know they won’t be sent back to overcrowded prisons or jails.”

Under the state’s prison realignment law that went into effect in October 2011, more than 12,000 parolees have been put on probation in LA County rather than state parole. To qualify, their last offense must have been non-violent, non-sexual, non-serious. But the law only applies to that last offense, not their entire criminal history.

Holden’s AB 1065 – backed by the County of Los Angeles -  would require that an inmate who has previously been classified as a Mentally Disordered Offender, or Mentally Disordered Sexual Offender and served time for a crime where he or she was required to undergo treatment in a state mental facility, to remain under state supervision.

“Los Angeles County is committed to the safe and effective implementation of AB 109, balancing the public safety of our communities and the need to provide rehabilitative services to the population of offenders under our supervision,” said Chief Jerry Powers, Chief Probation Officer of Los Angeles County.   “Individuals who have previously been designated as Mentally Disordered Offenders require consistent treatment and intensive supervision services when released from prison to the community and we believe that level of care can best be provided by the State.  I applaud Assembly Member Holden for this bill and his commitment to public safety and the successful implementation of AB 109.”

“The State system is better equipped to handle these offenders than the counties which are being asked to take up the difficult task of supervising very dangerous offenders,” concluded Holden.

CONTACT: Wendy Gordon, 626.720-3409