Local Politics

Thursday, Feb 07 2013 04:44 PM

Political notebook: Salas pushes for more realignment funding for Kern

By The Bakersfield Californian

Rudy Salas and several other Central Valley members of the state Assembly are advocating for more state realignment money for their districts to deal with prison and probation populations that are above earlier estimates.

In a letter to the director of the state Department of Finance, the legislators wrote, "We are deeply troubled by the fact that counties in the Central Valley are receiving less realignment funding than the projected caseload they were expected to receive. ... The distribution of Fiscal Year 2012-13 realignment funds for San Joaquin Valley counties falls far short of the amount needed."

The state's prison realignment plan is meant to cut inmate populations at state prisons by moving lower-level offenders to county jails and county supervision. The state has given California counties funding to cover their increased jail populations, but representatives in many counties have argued they're shortchanged.

Kern County, for example, is getting more offenders than originally estimated, according to the letter.

The state Department of Corrections estimated Kern County would receive 1,040 offenders, but the county is now supervising more than 1,700, according to the letter. Each probation officer should have about 50 cases, but they actually are assigned about twice that.

Salas signed the letter along with Assembly members Henry Perea of the 31st District, Susan Talamantes-Eggman of the 13th District and Adam Gray of the 21st District.

-- Staff writer Antonie Boessenkool

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