With an increasing load of convicted felons in their jails, California counties have been forced to release defendants awaiting trial as well as parole violators and other offenders who have not completed their terms. The early release of these prisoners has led to a steady stream of both property and violent crimes in neighborhoods across the state.
Aimed at making the state’s realignment plan more workable for local sheriffs and police chiefs, State Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) introduced Senate Bill 708, a measure to send habitual felons directly to state prison, not county jails.
“My priority is to keep our communities safe,” said Nielsen. “Realignment is not working and is putting our families in danger by forcing the early release of habitual felons onto our streets.”
“Repeat offenders with four or more felony convictions should not go to county jail to exhaust limited resources intended for offenders with high potential for rehabilitation,” added Nielsen.
Local jurisdictions are struggling to meet the increasing demands of housing convicted felons who, before the state mandated realignment program, went to state prison.
Specifically, Senate Bill 708 provides that a defendant who is convicted of a felony and has three or more prior felony convictions belongs in state prisons. Convicted felons must know that there are penalties for breaking the law.
“The crime wave California leaders have unleashed on us demands the full attention of the Legislature and the Governor. For criminals, the lack of consequences promotes further and escalating victimization of citizens."
Senate Bill 708 is part of a package of proposals that Nielsen is introducing to change the state’s public safety realignment plan. SB 708 is expected to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 23, during National Victims' Rights Week.