Studio Sacramento: Prison Shift - KVIE

Uploaded by KVIEvideo on 22.10.2012


>>I'm James Beckwith,
President and CEO
of   Five Star Bank.
As a community bank,
we believe
that open dialogue
about the issues
affecting our region
is vitally important.
From the economy
to the environment
to social issues,
we look forward
to the conversations
and hope you'll join in.
♪ ♪
In 2011 public safety and
California economic
conditions met in
a perfect storm.
While our state budget
deficit soard to record
heights in the midst of
the great recession.
The Supreme Court ordered
California to reduce
its prison population
of 237 percent capacity
by May, 2013.
In order to implement
this decision,
Governor Jerry Brown signed
into law AB 109 that
transferred substantial
responsibility for the
State's prison population to
the counties.
Along with new funding to
pay for this expanded role,
these changes are
referred today as
"Criminal Justice Realignment."
New responsibility, new funds.
Is it enough?
And how should those
funds be spent?
Joining us today on
Studio Sacramento are
Sacramento County Sheriff,
Scott Jones,
West Sacramento City Councilman,
Oscar Viegas,
and Assembly Member,
Dr. Richard Pan.
Welcome to the program.
I'm going to read a quote from
Justice Anthony Kennedy:
"If a prison
deprives prisoners of
basic sustanence,
including adequate medical
care the courts have a
reponsiblity to remedy
the resulting
8th amendement violation."
So, sheriff, what is realign?
Well, I think what it is
and what it proportes
to be are a couple
of different things.
At its core, realignment
is a transferred mandate
if you will.
From the State to the
local levels to not only
house the prisoners,
but to try and come up with
evidence-based programs
to rehabilitate
to lower the residivism
rate of the State.
That's basically it
at its core.
And Dr.Pan why did this happen.
Why was this necessary?
Well, as you mentioned
in the introduction,
the Federal Courts had state
that uh, overcrowding
in our prisons
has gone on for too long.
It violates the
constitutional rights
of the prisoners.
The courts already stepped
in in terms of
health care as well.
And, basically,
uh the path we were
on was unsustainable.
Uh, we have one of the largest
prison populations in the
country, our state.
The process in which we are
going in criminal justice,
we had a uh, a uh,
high residivism rate,
where people were coming
back into the prisons and
certainly the expense of
taking care of all these
prisoners and so, um,
we need to take a step
forward and say there's got
to be a better way
of doing things.
And uh I think the
hope of realignment,
is is that by basically
taking the prisoners who
were least dangerous,
the so-called non-non-non's,
uh and have them closer to
the communities, uh,
working with the
local law enforcement,
where actually local
law enforcement,
the sheriff's have shown
that they've done a better
job in terms of
transitioning them back into
uh civilian life.
And these are prisoners who
will eventually get out,
their not...right, so their,
that their
therefore were gonna be able
to lower our overall prison
rate as well as ensure that
these people are gonna be
able to be, uh,
hopefully back, be able uh,
to reintegrate into society
being productive members.
But Dr. Pan, um,
there may be evidence to show
that local law enforcment has
done a better job,
but it was with
a smaller population.
The jury's out as to wether
or not there's enough
funding to acutally match
the mandate that's come down,
isn't that correct?
Well, you know,
as you mentioned earlier.
These are tought budget times.
Uh, I mean, personally,
I'd like to see that uh
there is more funding
or money for this.
But, also,
the path we were going was
also unsustainable as well.
But then, I'd like to come
to Councilman Viegas.
and ask you:
As a City Councilman,
if I'm one of your constiuents,
what does this mean to me?
Well, what it means
is that now the
responsbility of
managing this population
is squarely in the
lap of local communities.
Um, we have to
figure out a way
to make this work.
Uh, what it means
is that in three year,
three, four, five years
from now, its not as
if the State is
gonna say, well,
this attempt at trying to
realign these prisoners
locally didn't work and
we're gonna take them back.
That's not gonna happen,
so that option isn't on
the table anymore.
So what it means
to residents is,
your local communities,
your policy makers need to
figure out a way to do
better than what the state
was previously doing.
The real question
Councilman Viegas is this:
Are we going to be less safe?
I think the jury's still out.
It's still early.
Um, you know, the fact
is we've only been
in this sort or realignment
mode for less than a year.
Um, we've been
doing business forever
the same way.
And to expect results
overnight is I think a bit
unrealistic and
the jury's still out,
it's gonna take
a little bit of time.
It's gonna take two,
three years to figure out
whether or not the sort of
new way of doing business is
gonna have the effect
that we all we better
hope it does.
Sheriff Jones...
I'd like to respond to that.
I'd like you to.
From the public safety
perspective I believe
that people are
going to be less safe.
At least in the short term,
now, um I'm not an opponent
of realignment uh,
a well thought out
methodical, deliberate
attempt to realign offenders
to the local level.
That's not what this is.
Its important to understand
that this was driven by um,
a state in crisis uh that
was in economic crisis,
that failing to to, um,
comport with the courts
mandates over time.
This administration as well
as the last administration
has much or more fault that
this administration.
Acutally, does this problem
go back several administrations?
It does.
It certainly does.
Both Democrat and Republican.
It is a completely
non-partisan blame here.
Um, you have an
infrastructure that hasn't
built any prisons for
a couple of decades,
even though we've had
exploding populations.
But going back to the
original question as whether
people will be less safe
I think it absolutely is true.
You have a population.
One of the things AB 109 did
was shorten sentences...
I don't think most
people realize.
What do you mean by that?
Well, if you were sentenced
to a year in county jail,
prior, you would get
up to a third of your
sentence off for
what they called good time
and work time.
That was increased
to fifty percent.
So people are doing less of
their sentence then they
were before AB 109.
So you have a group of folks
that are out of custody.
That ordinarily would have
been in custody.
Now we know what the
residivism rate for someone
in custody is is zero.
No one reoffends while
their in prison.
But we also know with a
statistical certainty that
when you get out of jail,
over 70 percent of the folks
that get out of jail are
going to reoffend.
By their own admission,
any program to reduce
residivism is going to take
two or three years minimum
to gage any efficacy
from that program.
Well, what do we do
in the meantime,
the two or three years you
have a group of folks that
we know with statistical
certainty are going to
reoffend by a large majority
that otherwise wouldn't have
been able to offend.
And when they do reoffend.
What are the tools that you
as law enforcement and
your collegues have to
keep us safe?
Well, it's interesting.
You mentioned the funding.
It does come
with a considerable
amount of funding.
To the casual observer they
say its a lot of money to be
able to do these
rehabilitative programs.
But there's a cost, uh,
there's direct cost and
indirect cost to our agency.
Sheriff's departments
in particular.
Because we have to house,
we don't get the luxury of
building out programs to
match whatever we get.
We get what we get.
We don't get to give
the inmates back if
the funding diminishes.
We have 'em.
Let me just make
sure I understand.
So we get what we get.
In other words,
if you have money,
if you're being given money
for 100 prisoners,
but you end up being sent
200 you just have
to deal with it?
That's correct.
Yeah, that's correct.
And is that what you're
dealing with now?
That is what we're
dealing with.
I think its a common
phenomenon from
all the counties.
I mean, what this
AB 109 did with
all this money is create
the expectation uh,
that there will be,
all this money
gonna go towards
rehabilitative programs,
which I'm a big fan of.
I've been the commander
of our jail.
You cannot arrest your way
or build your way out
of the prison problem.
Uh, I'm a big fan of it.
But its reasonable to assume
that this was envisioned as
a cost saving measure
by the State.
So they figured out what it
costs to house and supervise
them under prison and parol,
cut that by some amount,
whether its ten,
twenty or fifty percent,
dole it out to
58 counties and said,
now you house and
supervise them.
Oh, and by the way
we want all this
money to go towards
rehabilitative type programs.
So you can easily see,
just looking at it logically,
that its under funded to accomplish
the goals we are trying to do.
Dr. Pan.
As a member of Legislature,
give us a sense of the
debate as it stands
today between, uh, the
allocation of these funds?
Well, you know,
as I mentioned before,
we're on a
unsustainable path.
And, so, uh, you know,
one of the things, that,
uh I wanted...
Before...let me just
interrupt you.
from thet standpoint of that
we just keep locking people
up or unsustainable as
that we're not letting
them go fast enough?
Well, uh,
we just keep locking people
up and the expense of that,
we talked about
prison construction,
extremely expensive.
Um, uh we're
facing the deadline
with the uh, Federal Courts.
Uh, and...this is
not something that's brand new.
Uh, for years,
and years, and years,
and I think the courts
were getting kind of
exasperated that we weren't
doing anything.
So, uh, in terms of
the public safety, you know,
certainly, uh, one,
of you know we've been
working with the Sheriff and
other people in the county
to try to figure out what we
can try to do and uh,
with realignment but also
recognize the alternative
was is that we were gonna
have a court case that said
that you now have to do
something with all
these prisoners.
Either let them go, or,
and then we'll probably find
some places for some of them
and so-forth, but,
I think we were still
heading down the path
where concerned about
public safety as well.
So, its certainly
not with uh,
um, uh, any,
um joy that we're saying
that uh, we could
send prisoners to
the sheriff's and uh,
and uh, try to
work with the
counties to try to be sure
that there was funding to
help not only,
and I certainly appreciate
what the Sheriff has
to...the challenge that
he's facing and all the
folks in the county.
Because, uh, as he said,
and mentioned, is
is that the uh,
the rehabilitiation takes,
you know, is gonna
take at least a few
years, if not longer.
So if, Councilman,
in hearing that.
You're the first phone call
that a citizen is
likely to make.
What do you tell them
in terms of how
this gets fixed?
Well, there's a
couple different
things we're doing,
for example,
I can speak specifically
to Yolo County.
'Cause West Sacramento
is in Yolo County that
I can tell you.
Um, early on,
it was difficult to
develop sort of a plan to say
here's what were gonna
do forever um,
because the money
was uncertain,
it was unclear exactly how
much funding was going to
become available.
So early on, we said OK,
let's just take inventory
what resources do
we have locally?
What kind of data do
we have to say,
here's sorta the starting
point for this program
because we've only been in
it nine months.
So, what we've
done is essentially said,
here's the data,
here's what
we currently have,
here's an inventory of the
services and programs that
we think we're gonna need.
And over the next several
months we're gonna try to
better refine that so that
as time goes on we're able
to invest in the programs
and the services and the
things folks are gonna need
coming back into our
communities because we
know their not getting
them right now.
So that call, I mean,
as I say,
the jury's still out,
its not clear whether or not
this is gonna work.
But frankly,
we don't have an option.
We have to make it work.
Well, I want to
come back to uh,
what caused this problem
in the first place.
And I know there is
myriad of factors.
Let's pick one.
In 1994 Three Strikes
was passed.
And the theory behind
Three Strikes if memory
serves me correct, is,
somebody offends,
you lock them up long enough
to where their so old that
their too creaky to do
anybody much damage by the
time they get out.
And so we had a big
run up in terms of
prison population,
we had prison construction.
And the second part of the
argument was rehabilition
just doesn't work.
Warehouse, not rehabilitate.
Where are the success stories?
Where are the best
practices at?
What is it that gives both
of these gentlemen,
all three of you,
comfort that
whatever is done,
other than incarceration,
actually returns people to
productive parts of society.
There's programs
all over the country,
and all over California
that actually,
that are proven to work.
Um, they're not
gonna work for
every body all the time.
Um, what we're doing
locally, actually,
is insituting a risk
needs assessment.
So rather than simply saying
everybody coming out is
going to get the same level
of service all the time
we know that's a
collosal waste of money.
We know that the fact..
that the Sheriff
alluded to earlier,
statistical evidence shows
that certain percentage of
the folks coming through
are gonna reoffend.
So rather than...
Yeah, but, the success rate
is this, if
70 percent of offenders
reoffend again,
that doesn't sound like much
of a success rate.
That's what's currently
happening, that's right.
So if we can move that off
to 55 or 60 percent,
we've already made progress.
So I'm half as likely
to be held up?
Well, I...I
...I think that um,
you know we certainly have
to do better than that.
Um, I actually
appreciate the fact
that uh I had an
opportunity to tour the
Roger Bauman Center and see
the things the Sheriff's
office actually is doing to
help with rehabilitation.
We also talked to folks down
there uh recognizing,
for example,
transitional housing is gonna
be very important.
You release uh someone
from the jail,
and uh they have no place to
live and they decided to
shack up with somebody and
then they can't find a
job...and so, uh,
and they start
using drugs again,
they're not gonna
be successful.
So, what we need
to do is be
sure some of the
things that my office has
been trying to do in working
with other folks
in the community, including
the Sheriff's office.
Is, trying also,
in addition to realignment,
see if there's other types
of resources that we can put
together to help out
trying to make uh,
rehabilitation as successful
as possible.
Because we can't afford to
incarcerate our way out of
our criminal justice problem.
If we accept that
as a premise.
But, Councilman,
doesn't this come down a lot
of times to just having
access to a job?
In the boom of the 1990's
when unemployment went
down to 2 percent,
recidivism rates floated
down all by themselves.
Maybe not to the place
where it is we'd say
we had hit Nirvana.
But how much of this
economically based?
I think a significant part.
I know that part of what
we're trying to do is
actually do a - utilize a
professional tool to assess
whether or not the offender
is likely to reoffend,
and what their needs are.
And based on using that
professional tool it'll give
us a much more honed in
perspective on whether or
not a job is likely to keep
them from reoffending or
whether they need
substance abuse,
and substance abuse services
and a job or whether they
need job training.
So, that's going
to give us much
better perspective on um,
a focused population to
determine what exactly
do they need?
What are the tools,
what are the things that
they're gonna need coming
back into our communities
that's gonna at least have a
chance to reduce the
likelihood that
their gonna reoffend.
And if you had to spend the
money by yourself Sheriff,
how would you allocate it?
You know, its difficult.
You first have to
cover the cost.
And I' of my mantras
to my RCCPR
(Community Corrections
the group that decides
how the money is spent.
Is, hard costs have
to come before speculative
or program costs.
I have actual costs.
I'm the only one in
realignment that has real
costs associated with it.
Um, so, those
have to be paid for.
Well, if I were to
take all of my
costs and get
compensated for it,
there would be nothing left.
So I guess,
in a perfect world I would
say cover as much cost
as I need to get by
but also give as much
as we can to programs.
We're stuck with trying to
make this work.
This, I mean,
there's a way to do
realignment deliberately.
And like I said,
with all the stakeholders
and looking at other states
that have tried this.
This iteration is none
of those things.
And my concern is
this iteration.
How so?
How is it none of those things?
Well, you have to remember,
the only thing driving this,
the only thing driving this,
uh, and the implentation
date of October One,
is the court order mandates.
Its not because all the
details were worked out,
they certainly were not,
its not because it was
sufficiently funded,
it certainly was not.
Its not because this was the
best version after taking
stakeholders uh,
input from ACLU,
from educators, from uh,
law enforcement officials
from other states.
It it was none of those things.
The only thing that drove
this was the October One
implementation date.
So, Dr. Pan,
that kind of flies in the
face of Rom Emanual's dictum
of "Never waste a good crisis,"
does it not?
Well, yeah, I think,
one of the things that we
did with realignment, uh,
is is that recognize that
the current path we were on
was not working.
And the fact that many times
uh, local people were on the
ground are gonna come up
with better solutions.
Uh, so, while as
difficult as this
is, I think that uh,
I certainly have a lot of,
uh uh faith,
and uh belief in the
expertise of the folks on
the ground here in
Sacramento--County...and our
office also isn't just like
we passed you know,
and we voted for it and
we're stepping away.
Uh, I've attended several
community partnership meetings,
my staff is always there.
We want to be a good
partners with all the people
at the county,
including the Sheriff,
and the DA,
and the probation.
And, you know,
all the other people, uh,
in the cabinet to try to
help work out solutions.
Uh, you know,
I'd love if there was
more money for it.
Uh, I'd love to
be able to do
some other things.
We're working on, again,
trying look at other
potential types of resources
we might be able to
bring to the table.
Uh, so we want to be good
partners in trying
to solve this problem.
Uh, you know, as Oscar said,
there's a lot of things we
still haven't you know,
we still have to figure out.
But we have to also need to
be sure the funding is
stable and the Govenor's
initiative is gonna
gaurantee, uh, you know,
uh, funding,
it doesn't bring in new
money for that,
but at least we need
to be sure that's also
predictable as well.
So that people can
make long term...-
Well, speaking of the Govenor,
I want to read to
all of you something.
Uh, this is a quote
from the Govenor at
the time at the
time that he uh,
made the announcement
related to realignment.
And he says,
"Today I am pledging maximum
State support to local
officials, full funding,
flexibility to use local
solutions and a future
ballot measure gauranteeing
continuous funding.
We can't overturn the
Supreme Court decision,
but we can work together to
fix our broken system and
protect public safety."
Has the Govenor lived up
to his pledge?
Well, I believe that its,
you know,
the gauranteed funding is
part of the inititative,
uh, you know,
when you say full or maximum
funding that can be subject
to different interpretations.
Let's make it simple.
Yes or no.
Did the Govenor live
up to his pledge?
I believe the Governor,
has fundamentally,
lived up to his pledge.
Has the Governor lived
up to his pledge?
I think he's done everything
he possibly can to make sure
that we are in line
to get the resources
that were needed,
and I think there's gonna
be tweeks that are
gonna be needed.
But I think he's done what
he can reasonably do,
thus far, uh,
to make sure that the money
continues to flow so that we
have are, the most,
the maximum options on the
table for our communities.
Sheriff, do you agree
with that assessment?
Uh I would say kinda.
Um, the reality is
is he has promised us both
individually and as groups,
state sheriffs, and others,
that he would this on the
ballot as a constitution
protected funding source.
The reality is that the
Association of Counties
had a measure,
this does not require new
taxes to fund.
This is a set aside
from existing monies.
Um, I sat in
Senator Steinberg's office,
and, uh, before all this
tax inititative came up,
and he asked me a question,
hey being a
fiscal conservative Scott,
how are you going to
get this passed?
I said, there's no new taxes
I gaurantee I'll get it to
pass in my county.
The problem is you
the Legislature,
not you Darryl Steinberg,
will scew it up.
Um, you will uh find something
that needs to be sexied up,
that's only polling at
about 40 percent.
The C Sac measure,
the stand alone measure was
polling at over 70 percent.
And you will attach it
something that needs to be
brought up and that's
exactly what happened.
There are no new taxes
required to set aside the
funding for realignment,
that's what the
Govenor promised us.
So, true, he did get
it on the measure,
uh get it on as a measure.
But the reality is the only
way to get consistent,
protected funding for
realignment is to vote in
the Govenor's tax measures,
which depending on the day
and the poll,
may or may not pass.
I see.
Well, what's interesting
about this is that when
the Govenor made
this announcement,
he had an impressive
cross-section of government
officials with him.
Sheriffs, county supervisors,
city police chiefs,
district attorneys.
What is it that they're
thinking differently
than you are?
Well, I can't say
that in total
because I'm relatively new
at this job,
but I can tell you the
State's Sheriff Association
voted with one exception
to support the Govenor's
tax measure or,
the Govenor's
realignment plan.
The one hold out was myself,
I don't think there's
anything in this
for the counties,
and specifically I don't
think there's anything in
this for the sheriffs and
so, I met with
the Secretary of State,
I met with the Govenor
before I did come out,
and told them all I was
gonna come out against
this and I did.
So, as a consequence,
how is behavior changing
in the street?
I'm curious about whether
or not you're seeing,
through your staff,
and Councilman whether
you're hearing about
through your staff,
that there is a moving of
the needle with regards
to criminal activity.
Well, I'd love to
be able to sit here and
say all heck has broken loose
because of realignment.
We don't have the data
suggest that I think as,
the Councilman suggested this,
it's too early to tell.
I can tell you that in crime
in every single category in
the county of Sacramento has
gone up over the last year.
As compared to former years?
As compared to former years.
Most of those are within the
2-to-6 percent range so,
not significant spikes,
I know there has been-
Unless it's happening to you.
Well, that, that is a spike.
In the city,
they're also going up,
violent crime is going up
faster than property crimes
in the city if I recall
Chief Brazil's comments,
so it's too early to tell if
it's realignment related.
But I can tell you that
speaking with my contemporaries
around the state,
there's an increase
in the number of
officer-involved shootings,
there's an increase in the
number of crime,
many jails are having to
release inmates early,
as well as not accept
certain inmates because
of capacity issues
created by realignment,
so the concequences,
even though we can't
directly attribute them and
say realignment's causing this,
there are some disturbing
trends that happen to
coincide with the limitation
of realignment,
I don't think it's gonna get
better in the short term.
What I'm really looking to
find out is whether or not
behavior is changing with
regards to the people that
your staff combats
on a daily basis,
whether or not there's a
lack of consequences or
perception that increasingly
there's a lack of
consequences for actions.
That's a very good point.
And I think as much as anything,
it's the diminishment of
consequences that has resulted
in increased criminality.
You've got - it used to be if
someone was a parolee,
I mean let's face it,
we know who's committing crimes,
the best predictor of future
behavior is past conduct.
We know who's committing
the crimes with a
70 percent certainty.
So we have the ability,
if you're on parole for example,
to search you and make sure
you're complying with the law.
If we found you with some
drugs we could arrest you,
violate your parole -
parole would be violated,
you'd be back in prison
doing a year in prison
within a week.
Now we can't, because
you don't go back to prison.
The worst consequence you
can get now for violation
of your post-release
community supervision,
this new hybrid,
is six months,
but remember that's half-time.
So the worst,
whatever cost-benefit
analysis that criminals do,
you're worst consequence now
is only three months.
So we see this with the drugs,
now we have Prop 36
and drug diversion,
there's very little
to no consequences,
at least for your
first drug offense,
unless you're transporting
large amounts.
We're seeing it on the
ballot measure this fall,
they're trying to get rid of
the Third Strike requirement
being any felony,
they're trying to get rid of
the death penalty,
you see a further diminishment
of consequences driven solely
by the economy because now
it's expensive,
without regard to public safety.
So yes, that's a consideration.
We're down to our final
moments, and for the public,
how do we get involved?
How do we make sure our
voices are heard
as your constituents,
the citizens you protect,
the folks that you represent?
And I'll start with you,
Dr. Pan.
Well you know,
I think this is a problem
that we all need to pull
together to figure out and I
think things that things
people can do,
certainly we want to hear
from folks,
we want to listen to law
try to figure out how we can
solve problems,
see what resources
we can put together.
Same time,
the best way to stop crime
is actually prevention,
so things that we can
do to help, uh,
opportunities for youth,
and also people
getting together,
like neighborhood watches
and stuff, they can support-
We're gonna have to
leave it right there.
you have 15 seconds.
So three quick things.
First of all,
I would say you can go see
what your county-wide plan
is by going to the chief
probation officer's website,
cause every county plan is
posted on there,
so it's a great resource to
go as a resident,
see what your plan is,
see what your county is saying
they're gonna be doing.
We're going to have to leave
it there, I apologize.
And you get the last
one Sheriff.
First, understand that
all of us, including Dr. Pan
and everybody is working hard
to make this work.
Just because we don't like
it doesn't mean we're
throwing our sucker
in the sand.
And second is to get involved,
come - they're all
public meetings,
the CCP meetings.
Come and see what it's all
about and have
your voice heard.
Anyone, how many residents,
just pure residents,
show up at these meetings?
Give me just a
numerical guesstimate.
Half a dozen.
Half a dozen?
Meaning that we need more
people involved?
A very important issue.
Thank you all for being with
us here today.
Thank you.
Well that's our show.
Thanks to our guests and
thanks to your for watching.
For Studio Sacramento,
I'm Scott Syphax.
See you next time,
right here on KVIE.

>>I'm James Beckwith,
President and CEO
of   Five Star Bank.
As a community bank,
we believe
that open dialogue
about the issues
affecting our region
is vitally important.
From the economy
to the environment
to social issues,
we look forward
to the conversations
and hope you'll join in.