Nielsen Oppose Public Safety Realignment Proposal

Friday, March 11, 2011

(Sacramento) - Assemblyman Nielsen (R-Gerber) announced today that he strongly opposes Governor Brown's Public Safety Realignment Proposal. The proposal, which would be a part of the upcoming budget, would shift about 38,000 offenders in the first year (16,000 from prison and 22,000 from parole) on to local public safety officials.  This figure would grow to about 68,000 (40,000 from prison and 28,000 from parole) by the year 2014.

"The specifics of this proposal are very troubling," stated Nielsen.  "Government's first responsibility to its citizens is to protect the public and ensure safety and justice.  This Realignment Plan does neither.  By shifting the immense burden of housing un-rehabilitated offenders and felons to local jails and sheriffs; they are inviting nothing but victimization and higher crime rates."

The proposed realignment bill has many sections that Nielsen opposes. Among those is the proposal to shift thousands of convicted felons, including those with very long sentences such as major drug sellers and child abusers from being incarcerated in state prison.  Instead, this responsibility will be forced upon the local jails. Shifting this population to county jails will force local sheriffs to release misdemeanor offenders such as those convicted of domestic violence or DUI's, those serving a jail term as a condition of felony probation, and those awaiting trial. 

The proposed bill would also change the terms of sentences for many felons and would leave many more parolees unsupervised in our communities. The bill also would extend 50 percent early release "good-time" credits to misdemeanor offenders and other jail inmates not sentenced to state prison. This specific proposal was repealed by Senate Bill 76 in 2010 because of the outcry against it. 

"I urge Governor Brown and the Democrats to reject this flawed plan, based on its long-term and severe impacts on our local communities. The safety and well-being of all Californians is at stake," concluded Nielsen.