Spitzer Law Blog

Spitzer Law Blog

News & Views on Victims' RIghts

DA Phile Cline Warns About the Public Safety Impact of So-Called "Realignment"

By Todd Spitzer: Some District Attorneys have been very vocal about the effects so called "Realignment" will have on public safety.  When I was the Chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on Prison Construction and Operations I repeatedly warned that failing to deal with prison overcrowding as a STATE responsibility will have dramatic impacts on public safety.  The interview with DA Phil Cline shows that he agrees.  He shares his concerns.  One thing we know for sure: costs to local government will increase dramatically while the impact of realignment will cause more crime in our precious communities.

 

 

http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20111015/OPINION09/110150322/DA-Phil-Cline-More-crime-more-criminals-more-cost?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Frontpage|s

 

Viewpoint: Will there be increased costs to your department? And how will you balance that? What happens if state money runs out?

Cline: There will be increased costs to the District Attorney's Office. Most serious commentators expect local crime to increase. As crime increases, prosecution caseloads will increase. Realignment means that convicted felons will stay local. That means additional costs.

It is anticipated that because of a lack of local jail capacity, felons not sentenced to state prison will receive minimal local jail sentences or none at all. If so, they will be returned to the street to commit more crimes. If they continue to commit crimes, it will be necessary to prosecute the offender multiple times instead of only once as it was before realignment and there was a potential state prison sentence.

There will also be less incentive for criminals to plead guilty to their crimes because the prospect of appropriate punishment will be diminished. That will usually mean more motions, more hearings and more trials. And that means more costs.

It is clear what will happen "if state money runs out." Crime in local communities will return to the epidemic levels of the 1970s. 

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