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Third Of SD County Jail Population Would Have Been In State Prison Before Realignment


Mack Jenkins, Chief of Probation, San Diego County

Cynthia Burke
, Ph.D., Director of Criminal Justice, SANDAG

A new report shows more than one-third of all the inmates in San Diego’s county jails are now offenders who previously would have served their time in state prison.

Cynthia Burke conducts regional public safety research for the San Diego Association of Governments. She said crime has been falling since 2008, but the state’s realignment strategy to relieve prison overcrowding is having an impact on the jail population.

“They are more likely to need higher level custody,” she said, “and in terms of their demographic, they are starting to get a little bit older and they are staying there much longer.”

Burke said previously offenders never stayed in jail longer than a year, now offenders are serving sentences in jail of up to 16 years.

The San Diego probation department is also affected: 15 percent of those on probation would have been in prison or on parole before realignment. They are significantly more likely to re-offend and end up back behind bars.

Realignment began in October 2011 in response to a court ruling that requires California to reduce prison overcrowding.

KPBS' Maureen Cavanaugh, Patty Lane and Peggy Pico contributed to the Midday and Evening Edition segments.

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