One year into California’s state prison realignment program, Los Angeles County is seeing an unexpected number of high-risk offenders coming into its probation system, including some with a history of severe mental illness, reports the Los Angeles Times. It remains unclear whether realignment — which shifted responsibility for some nonviolent offenders from prisons to county jails and from state parole to county probation — is having an effect on crime rates. A report by a county advisory body found that a majority of state prison inmates who have been released to county probation are at a high risk of reoffending.
In the first year of the new system, which took effect in October 2011, 11,136 offenders were released from state prison to Los Angeles County probation. Of those who reported to probation for assessment, 59 percent were classed as high risk, 40 percent as medium risk, and only 1% as low risk. The department uses probationers’ criminal history and other factors to determine the risk that they will commit new crimes and the resources required to supervise them. Deputy Chief Reaver Bingham said the department originally projected that 50 percent of the offenders coming out of state prison would fall into the high-risk category.