Crime

Prison 'realignment' off to a rough start

Los Angeles County probation officials are getting a first look at the state prison inmates whose files started being transferred here this week. They don't like what they are seeing so far, according to a story at ZevWeb. Forget that stuff about these being the less dangerous state inmates.

Hundreds upon hundreds of prisoner files—some woefully incomplete—are haphazardly arriving by mail, fax and Fed-Ex at Los Angeles County’s “pre-screening” hub in the Probation Department’s Alhambra field office. Eagle-eyed probation workers are uncovering mistakes, large and small, in the state records, including inmates who should be sent to other counties and others whose crimes should disqualify them entirely from the new “realignment” program.

Only late last week, after intense pressure from L.A. County, did state corrections authorities even begin sending comprehensive mental health records on ex-convicts headed here for supervision, information that’s crucial in developing treatment plans for the clients and protection for the public.

What’s also become increasingly clear in recent days is that the state has not been entirely forthcoming about the fine print of the controversial realignment plan, which is aimed at reducing prison overcrowding while slashing the state’s budget deficit.
Again and again, the governor and legislature have publicly stressed that the ex-inmates who’ll be supervised by the counties are “low-level” offenders convicted of non-serious, non-violent, non-sexual crimes. They also note that these individuals would have returned to their home counties no matter who was responsible for their oversight. But that’s not the whole story, as L.A. County officials are quickly learning.

These same felons could—and sometimes do—have prior cases involving very serious crimes....

“We’re literally seeing every criminal record you could think of,” says Richard Giron of the Probation Department, who’s in charge of the pre-screening center in Alhambra, where nearly 2,000 files have been received. “We’re seeing prior violence, prior sex offenses—the full range of minimal criminal records to extensive, serious records.”


More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Crime stories on LA Observed:
Back home in a more suspicious Mar Vista
Code 7 in Sherman Oaks: A little bit of history
Feds throw more charges at ex-Sheriff Baca
Ex-sheriff Baca rolls the dice on a trial
Judge says ex-Sheriff Baca deserves more time in jail
The hijacker on Arlington Avenue
Grim Sleeper convicted almost 8 years after getting his name
For first time, panel urges parole of Leslie Van Houten


 

LA Observed on Twitter