For immediate release
(Los Angeles, CA May 23, 2011) Today the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, directed the State of California to reduce its prison population by tens of thousands of inmates. The ruling comes as California legislators are considering how to fund public safety and corrections “realignment,” the shifting of juvenile and adult criminals to County Probation Departments for rehabilitation and supervision.
Funding for the implementation of realignment is contingent upon voter approval of the extension of tax increases implemented during the economic recession. Ability to seek voter approval of these tax extensions is being blocked by Republican legislators.
The ruling comes less than a week after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the LA County Probation Department to lay off more than 200 public safety officers. These officers were deemed “over hires” by County Supervisors, despite the passage of SB 678 and SB 81, shifting adults and juvenile criminals to the Counties through realignment.
Last week, a coalition* of unions and employee associations urged the Board of Supervisors to delay implementing the layoff plan until learning about the workload increases inevitable with realignment. Today’s Supreme Court ruling makes realignment all but certain and the layoffs unnecessary.
The following is a statement issued by the probation coalition:
“LA County Deputy Probation Officers are prepared for the transition of state inmates and wards to County caseloads. With an 80% record of success in the juvenile camps versus a 70% recidivism rate in state prison, probation has a proven track record. Probation is also cost effective: the cost to house or supervise both adults and juveniles at the local level is significantly less than half the cost at the State. With this additional responsibility, deputy probation officers will work to rehabilitate criminals, maximize community public safety, and ensure victim’s rights are protected.”
Probation coalition includes Deputy Probation Officers – AFSCME Local 685, Supervising Deputy Probation Officers – SEIU Local 721, and Probation Directors – Professional Managers Association, AFSCME Local 1967.
Media contact: Barbara Maynard at (323) 351-9321