Saturday, October 1, 2011

Coming Soon to a County Near You: Convicted Felons

The day Californians have been warned about for months is finally here: as the LA Times reminds us, today is the day when county jails up and down the Golden State will receive an influx of low-level convicts from state prisons, as part of Jerry Brown's "county realignment" plan. Just in time for the weekend, local law enforcement (many of whose systems are already filled to bursting) will now be tasked with monitoring thousands of non-violent felons. Though the Governor often justifies the plan by citing the Supreme Court's May ruling ordering the state to reduce its prison population, realignment was in the works well before that. In reality, it's nothing more than a budget-cutting move for the state (or, if you prefer, a way for the state to balance its budget on the backs of local governments). Sacramento plans to send law enforcement grants to the counties to compensate them for the costs of monitoring the new prisoners, but it's only promising nine months' worth of funding (which it got by raiding local-government funds in the first place). As far as where future funds will come from, Brown has offered this: "Don’t worry about the money. We’ll get it to you one way or the other." That sentiment should terrify taxpayers even more than the influx of convicted felons into their communities. While we like the idea of transferring more authority down to the local level, Sacramento is still in control of our money, so it doesn't feel like much of a gain. It feels more like yet another way of extorting tax hikes out of the public by making spending cuts as uncomfortable as possible.


  1. RobOct 1, 2011 02:12 PM
    Hey, young man, aren't you supposed to be schlepping things in and out of boxes this weekend?
  2. GSLOct 1, 2011 02:13 PM
    Yep. Just taking a break.