Criminal Law Legal Topics

Realignment is Coming on October 1, 2011

In an apparent response to the United States Supreme Court order to reduce California’s prison population and the State’s burgeoning budget crisis, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law A.B. 109 (Cal Stats 2011, ch 15, April 4, 2011), effectively transferring responsibility for nonserious, nonviolent and non-Pen C §290 registerable sex offenders from the state to the counties. Together with the amendments effected by other bills, A.B. 109 is referred to as “realignment.”  

Here are some examples of what realignment will mean:

  • Sentences for most felonies that are nonserious, nonviolent and nonregisterable sex offenses (so-called “non-non-non felonies”), if the defendant also has no prior serious, violent or registerable convictions, will now be served in the county jail. See Pen C §1170(h)(2)-(3).
  • Felonies with nonspecified terms in the underlying statute will be punishable by a term of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in the county jail. Pen C §§18; 1170(h)(1). Sentences for these offenses may include a period of county jail and a period of probation not to exceed the maximum possible term. Pen C §1170(h)(5).
  • Counties may permit electronic monitoring in lieu of bail (Pen C §1203.018) or home detention in lieu of jail (Pen C §1203.016). Time on electronic monitoring or home detention counts toward mandatory minimum sentences. Pen C §2900.5.
  • Individuals convicted of a current or prior serious or violent offense, who are required to register under Pen C §290 or whose sentence is enhanced under Pen C §186.11 (taking more than $100,000 under certain circumstances), must serve their current term in prison. Pen C §1170(h)(3).
  • Individuals convicted of felonies punishable by a prescribed term of county jail in the underlying statute will not be supervised after release; there will be no period of parole.
  • Prison sentences for non-non-non felonies will be followed by a period of up to 3 years of Postrelease Community Supervision administered by the counties. Violations of Post Release Community Supervision can be punished in many ways, including flash incarceration. Revocations must be done by a new Court Revocation Officer. Pen C §§3450-3458.
  • Beginning July 1, 2013, the parole revocation process will become a county court-based process. Until then, parole revocations will continue under the Board of Parole Hearings.

The new criminal sentencing provisions and most of the postrelease and parole provisions are operative on and after October 1, 2011.

By the way, we are only talking about adults here; none of this realignment impacts the Division of Juvenile Justice. See Legislative Counsel’s Digest for A.B. 117 (Cal Stats 2011, ch 39).

For a complete look at the impact of realignment, including at summary of all of the main provisions, go to CEB’s Law Alert. On California criminal law and sentencing generally, turn to CEB’s California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice and California Criminal Sentencing Enhancements.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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