Governor Brown pledged “maximum state support” for realignment as local officials have busily prepared for the transition, which officially began on October 1st. At a news conference with county officials and law enforcement authorities, the governor did his best to allay any fears about the large undertaking, which will hand off greater responsibility to counties when it comes to the management of low-level offenders. Brown commented, “There's no turning back. The only way is forward.” And the way forward when it comes to addressing county concerns is simple: funding. The governor promised to secure and support “full funding, flexibility to use local solutions, and a future ballot measure guaranteeing continuous funding.” Counties will be provided $5.6 billion this year, and that amount is expected to grow to $6.8 billion by 2014.
CSAC’s First Vice President and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan, who was on hand at the press conference, commented the following:
“We think local government can do this and can do it better. That said, we need the tools, which in this case, means a constitutional guarantee that the funding necessary for success, is protected for the future. We appreciate that Governor Brown has strongly stated his support of this approach.”
Support for a ballot measure to ensure funding was reiterated by Linda Penner, Chief Probation Officer of Fresno County and President of the Chief Probation Officers of California. Penner commented, “If our new responsibilities are adequately funded, constitutionally guaranteed and stable, we can do a better job protecting our communities. That’s why we need a ballot measure for November 2012 which will guarantee funding year in and year out.”
The Wall Street Journal covers pushback against the plan and funding concerns here. And for a regional focus, KCRW has posted a podcast on how LA County will handle the influx of inmates. Guests include Sheriff Lee Baca, Elizabeth Ashford from the governor’s office, Supervisor Mike Antonovich, and Reaver Bingham from the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Listen to the podcast here: