From the California State Senate Republican Caucus:

SACRAMENTO: Oct. 1, 2012 marks the one-year anniversary of Assembly Bill (AB) 109’s implementation, the Democrats’ early-release program for prison inmates. Dubbed as the “Criminal Justice Realignment” plan and billed as a “safe and secure” program to reduce our state prison population, AB 109 has proven to be anything but.

Up and down the state, the release of “non-violent, low-risk” inmates has been marked by dozens of reports that newly released inmates have carried out rapeattempted murderkidnappingrobberies, and stabbings. Inmates have also attacked police officers and stalked playgrounds. All of these offenses have been committed by inmates who were given early release under the auspices of “realignment.”

“These acts, committed by dangerous career criminals that local law enforcement officials are now powerless to keep locked up or even monitor under parole in some cases, is the true legacy of the majority party’s realignment policy,” said Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).  “The fundamental priority of government is ensuring public safety.  Realignment doesn’t just limit law enforcement officials in doing that, it actually prevents them from protecting us.”

In an effort to address some of the problems of AB 109, last year, State Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) authored Senate Bill 1441, a common-sense measure that would have ensured serious felons given lengthy sentences serve their time in state prisons rather than county jails.

“Unfortunately, the Governor and the Democrat majority passed realignment without adequately weighing its consequences,” Senator Emmerson said. “A year later, our county jails are more crowded than ever, prisoners are being released early, and our communities are at needless risk. Yet, Democrats lack the courage to re-examine their bad decision and change it to protect the public.”

AB 109’s first anniversary is no cause for celebration–except perhaps for the tens of thousands of career criminals who have been given this fresh opportunity to commit crimes in our communities.

State Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon):

“Governor Brown’s ‘realignment’ clearly reflects his twisted priorities – funding over $30 billion for High Speed Rail by cutting public safety and education to the bone,” said Senator Anderson. “Under this leadership, Californians who want to protect their families must consider buying a gun, installing an alarm and getting a dog because their tax dollars have been squandered.”

State Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Sugar Pine):

“Realignment is one way of putting it,” said Senator Berryhill. “‘Shift and shaft’ is probably more accurate. The Governor shifted the responsibility of incarcerating dangerous criminals to local law enforcement – a move which shafted the public’s safety. Particularly in rural communities. This isn’t something to celebrate – unless you’re a criminal.”

State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres):

“Now entering our second year of the realignment program, we know there are significant shortcomings that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Senator Cannella. “When I sit down with the sheriffs in my district, they express frustration about how the state has mandated that they are responsible for these criminals, but they have not been provided the funding to keep all of them behind bars. We need to go back and work with local law enforcement across the state to ensure that they are constitutionally guaranteed the funding they need to keep our communities safe and stop the revolving door that puts dangerous criminals right back on the street.”

State Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga):

“I never believed letting dangerous criminals out of prison early would make California neighborhoods a safer place for families to live,” said Senator Dutton. “Police chiefs in the Inland Empire felt passing AB 109 would put more strain, not only on our local jails, but local law enforcement officers. Taking a look at the statistics since this misguided law was passed has proven them right. I would encourage the majority party to join with Republicans in addressing this flawed and dangerous legislation that is putting our communities at risk.”

State Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield):

“What we’re seeing on the local television news and front pages of our newspapers are early results of the prison realignment plan,” said Senator Fuller. “Unfortunately for many law abiding families in neighborhoods across the state, they and their neighbors will continue to be victims of offenses perpetrated by criminals who should be behind bars. The time to end this experiment is now.”

State Senator Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin):

“Realignment essentially means the early release of some very dangerous individuals,” said Senator Gaines. “Thousands of career criminals have been placed in our communities, and I fear for the safety and well-being of California residents. The answer to prison overcrowding was not to put the criminals back out on the street, but to have more beds so the people who victimized innocent Californians can serve out their full sentences.  Government owes its citizens the highest level of public safety and realignment falls for short of that goal.”

State Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach):

“Crime statistics show this policy has been disaster for public safety and our local jails,” said Senator Harman. “Orange County, like many communities, is struggling with the influx of violent criminals.  The first six months of 2012 saw more inmate assaults in local jails than in the entire previous year.  This policy has jeopardized the safety of our law enforcement officers, increased overcrowding and highlighted underfunding at the local level. It’s a disaster and should be repealed.”

State Senator Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley):

“Convicted felons are celebrating the anniversary of the Governor’s program to divert them from prisons to jails,” said Senator Runner.

State Senator Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks):

“Since realignment went into effect a year ago, Ventura County has seen hundreds of offenders released early, a significant number of whom committed new crimes immediately after their release,” said Senator Strickland. “It’s caused over-crowding in local jails and put a strain on our local law enforcement. It’s clear this risky scheme has not worked to protect the public safety in Ventura County.”

State Senator Mimi Walters (R-Irvine):

“On the one year anniversary of AB 109, Californians should be appalled at the results of Governor Brown’s prisoner realignment law, which has led to the early release of many dangerous criminals,” said Senator Walters. “As many of our law enforcement personnel and citizens can attest, realignment hasnot made our communities safer. Regrettably, realignment has increased the likelihood of Californians becoming victims.  This was a law that never should have been approved, and now should be repealed.”

CONTACT: Hector Barajas @ 916-651-4029

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