California’s counties are continuing their efforts to handle the increased number of inmates under their jurisdiction following the massive prison realignment to reduce overcrowding in state prisons.
While a comprehensive assessment is forthcoming, some preliminary results are positive. In years past, 14 percent of felons failed to report to their parole officers following release from a state prison. Of the 23,000 inmates transferred to county control, less than four percent have failed to report to their county probation officer.
This reduction in absconding inmates has occurred in a variety of ways: some counties are transporting inmates directly from the prison gate, ensuring that they check in rather than leaving it up to them. Others are reaching out with letters detailing their responsibilities as well as services available.
Counties have a long way to go in adjusting to their new supervision and jail populations—especially as the influx is fluctuating, with some counties receiving more and some receiving fewer inmates than predicted—but if these early reductions in absconders is any indication, local control may play a role in strengthening public safety in California.