CA Politician Stirs Debate on Effectiveness of Prison “Realignment”


Anthony Ibarra, 28, was beaten, stabbed, and tortured for hours, his body ditched in a truck in California. says the San Francisco Chronicle. Potential gubernatorial candidate Abel Maldonado is outraged that four of 10 suspects arrested for the killing were ex-convicts who had been supervised by county probation officers under realignment, Gov. Jerry Brown’s solution to state-prison overcrowding. Santa Barbara County probation officials said realignment, in which the state is shifting responsibility for thousands of lower-level offenders to counties, didn’t appear to be a factor in Ibarra’s killing in March. To Maldonado, the slaying might have been prevented if the men had been under stricter state oversight, and he saw an opportunity to strike in the debate over whether realignment has made the state more dangerous.

The Republican former lieutenant governor said realignment – Brown’s response to a federal court order to cut the prison population from 143,000 inmates to about 110,000 by this summer – was a “failed experiment,” and that a better solution would be to expand prisons. He said he would seek to repeal realignment with a November 2014 ballot initiative. Maldonado’s reliance on anecdotal criminal cases, though, alarmed supporters of the program, which began in October 2011 and allocated more than $2 billion to the counties for the first two years. “There is a lot of fear-mongering going on without data to support the statements,” said Wendy Still, head of adult probation in San Francisco. “Instead of looking at isolated cases, we need to look at whether the public is safe. And I believe that when realignment is implemented correctly, the public is a lot safer.”

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