Prison reform comes to Merced when jails are already full

Like other jurisdictions in California, county officials in Merced are looking at AB 109, or prison realignment, as an opportunity to change corrections for the better. AB 109 was signed into law in April by Gov. Jerry Brown as a response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which called for California to reduce its prison population by 34,000. After Oct. 1, all non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders will be sentenced to county jails rather than state prison. Once current lower-risk inmates finish serving their time in state prison, they will come under the supervision of county probation rather than the state’s parole department. 

 Merced’s focus will shift from incarceration to treatment with low-level offenders. The local Community Corrections Partnership (CCP), the group of law enforcement and special services officials tasked with creating an implementation plan, advocates routing lower-risk offenders towards alternative sanction options such as electronic monitoring, behavior modification and treatment programs, and participation in specialized courts. Read more