The State of California has struggled with prison overcrowding for many years. In response, the Governor and legislature passed AB109, which resulted in the release of thousands of serious and chronic offenders from state prison and diverted future criminals from prison to county jails. On the heels of this legislation, Proposition 47 reclassified many felony crimes as misdemeanors. The impact of these changes is felt locally as these offenders now become inmates in the county jails, occupying space lower-level offenders would normally fill. These lower level offenders are now returned to our neighborhoods where they often contribute to local crime.
Many believe that this shift is a positive move that allows lower level offenders to be rehabilitated while remaining in the community. While I firmly believe in rehabilitation, treatment for addiction, and other programs to address social concerns, I also believe county jail is a key component in balancing offender needs with my principal duty to protect the county from repeat offenders.
There are a host of other changes in California law that have significant impacts on local law enforcement. Many of these changes are soft on crime and jeopardize public safety. As sheriff, I will actively oppose future legislation that erodes local control and will work to rollback laws that threaten the safety of our county.