Extra/ May 22nd
According to reliable sources, California Courts are expected to take over a substantial part of parole revocation responsibities come July 1,2011. It appears that Governor Brown is going to proceed with the portion of legislation he signed last month (AB109) that gives counties (and presumably court systems) responsibility to deal with offenders who violate their parole. What is not known is how much responsibility will be delegated and how much discretion courts will have in fullfilling those responsibilities. What is known is that Governor Brown has arranged for the County Courts to receive a total of $40 million to set up structures to handle parole revocations.
Those in California, with reentry responsibilities may be obligated to work with the county courts in dealing both with new less serious felony offenders and those who violate their probation and/or parole. It is an open question whether the six county California pilot parole reentry courts will be used as a state wide models for dealing with high-risk offenders. Six-month data on the pilot parole reentry courts is expected in June and will likely have an impact as to whether intensive supervision and rehabilitation, now provided in the Pilot projects, will be favored by the state, its agencies, or the Administrative Office of the Courts.
While it is unclear what the final perameters of the courts parole responsibilities will be, it would be prudent for California Courts and county agencies to begin planning for their new responsibilities. Though this is a difficult time to consider major reform, County courts may have discretion to structure a sentencing system that tracks offenders from sentence through incarceration (assuming the offender is kept local) into probation and finally reintegration into the community. Rather than come up with a piecemeal approach, now is the time to think systemically, in creating a multi-track structure to deal with less serious felony offenders who are sentenced for up to 3 years (but kept local) to high risk parolees who may be supervised by the courts, both out of prison and after a parole revocation. [Note: Consider the extraordinary opportunity that BJA Second Chance funding, ( $500,000 grants potentially for 3 years) could mean to your reentry/revocation court]
The following suggestions are provided: Options for a California Reentry Court System