CSAC Executive Director Talks AB 109 in Washington, D.C.
Matt Cate Participates in Briefing on Public Safety Realignment for Congressional Staffers
CSAC Executive Director Matt Cate helped brief Congressional staffers this week on AB 109 — Public Safety Realignment. The briefing was co-sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments. San Diego County Chief Probation Officer, Mack Jenkin,s and Ronald Davis, the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, joined him on the panel.
CSAC’s presentation included the historical context that lead to realignment, overcrowded prisons and jails, high recidivism rates, federal court oversight, growth of the State’s corrections budget and a reliance on incarceration over rehabilitation.
“What we had was clearly not sustainable,” Cate said in his briefing. “Realignment is not perfect, but housing, supervising and treating these lower level offenders at the local level has helped the state comply with a federal court order to reduce the prison population. And it’s providing better outcomes for the individuals and for the community.”
He noted that California’s recidivism rate was about 67 percent before realignment—giving rise to the “revolving door” analogy. And California’s prison population had ballooned to more than double the design capacity of the system. While recidivism rates after realignment are still under study, the overall crime rates remain at historically low levels according to a recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC.)
Cate says realignment is working. “With adequate discretion for each county to apply evidence-based programs to the conditions and circumstances in that county, I have no doubt that we will continue to see improved public safety outcomes and safer communities in California.”