As was the case last year, the Santa Barbara County Probation Department foresees this coming fiscal year will involve less supervision of some criminals and more of others under AB 109, California’s realignment law passed in 2011 that placed two types of convicts under counties’ microscope instead of under the state’s.
Under the state law, meant to address prison overcrowding, nonviolent, nonserious, non-high-risk sex offenders are managed by county probation departments after being released from prison, instead of being monitored by state parole agents. The other group singles out nonviolent, nonserious non-sex offenders to serve their time in county jails instead of state prison; their sentences can also be divided between jail time and supervision.
Projections made by Santa Barbara’s Probation czar last May crystal-balled that the then-310 criminals in the first group would drop to 262 by June 2015. Numbers presented to the Board of Supervisors by new Probation Chief Guadalupe Rabago this week said that count is currently at 271 and could drop to 248 in June 2016. In the second group, this time last year saw 231 offenders and predicted a jump to 354 by June 2015. However, that figure now hovers at 202 but is expected to hit 226 by next June.
Further prognostication points to Proposition 47 — last year’s state ballot measure that demoted many felonies to misdemeanors — cutting the number of AB 109’ers under supervision. As a result, the Probation Department will ax one probation officer position. In the next fiscal year, handling AB 109 here will cost upward of $10.1 million, which will be paid by the state.