Wall Street Journal: Santa Clara County Prepares for Influx of Inmates Into Jails

The not so good news: WSJ reports that Santa Clara County sends more people to prison than any other Bay Area County. The good news: Our County is going through a process to relieve ourselves of that distinction, and other counties from across the state are watching to see how transformative we can be in our local criminal justice strategies, particularly over the next couple months…

Santa Clara County officials hope county-run services such as this San Jose support group aimed primarily at women on probation will reduce the likelihood that participants will wind up incarcerated.

Bobby White, August 4, 2011

Santa Clara County is hastily drawing up plans to accommodate about 3,000 new inmates and parolees slated to move to county supervision from the state’s control this fall under a major shake-up of the California prison system.

Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed into law a bill that calls for jailing offenders who commit low-level crimes in county lockups instead of state prisons. The law, which also requires counties, rather than the state, to supervise newly released low-level inmates, was prodded by a Supreme Court ruling in May ordering California to sharply reduce prison overcrowding.

While all California counties face the mandate starting in October, Santa Clara sends more inmates to the state prison system than the Bay Area’s other counties—and thus will see more inmates move to its jurisdiction from the state. The shift means Santa Clara will now play a far larger role in housing and supervising offenders. Continue reading