There's been quite a lot of debate and speculation over the adoption of AB 109 and Proposition 47 in California. There are claims on both sides about their effectiveness or the safety of the public, and there are those who choose to remain silent and see how the progress can continue. In order to have residents on board with this reform, California needs to have a software solution in place to monitor the whereabouts of individuals released from state prisons or charged with a non-serious felony.
Cause for Concern?
Since its implementation in October 2011, the Realignment Legislation has decreased the amount of incarcerated men and women in the California state prison system. While having offenders convicted of non-serious crimes put into county jails and charged with misdemeanors is saving countless dollars and resources, what does this mean for our communities?
In a gun battle taking place in Merced, California in late February 2015, a police officer was shot during a routine traffic stop, according to local news reports. Both of the suspects have a criminal background, noted the source, and one was recently released in accordance with AB 109. Fortunately, the officer is expected to make a full recovery, but some posit that this crime wouldn't have even been committed if it weren't for the Realignment Legislation. Where were the resources that are supposed to keep tabs on those with criminal pasts and individuals recently released from prison?
What Can We Do?
Obviously, this is not a common occurrence, but it does raise a few eyebrows. We realized the risks of letting non-serious offenders continue to live in society is the best decision, both fiscally and on a humanitarian level. But weren't we assured that these people would at least be monitored while they await trial or their whereabouts would be known while they were on parole?
As the Monterey Herald reported, it's a step in the right direction to have people tried more lightly and sent to different placement options rather than state prison for the next 15 years, but there needs to be a backup in place to make sure they mind their time on the outside.
Software programs such as Tribridge's Pretrial360 can help monitor those awaiting trial and how they will be managed once inside the system. The software streamlines processes that help reduce recidivism once individuals are released, making for more productive members of society and a safer community for us.