In order to remedy overcrowded prisons and reduce the economic burdens associated with the current system of punishing offenders, California enacted the Public Safety Realignment Act which will go into effect on October 1, 2011. “Realignment” will affect everyone, from judges to parole officers to anyone who has a criminal case.
As of October 1st defendants sentenced to a term of imprisonment for many felonies (non-violent, non-serious, non sex-registrable offenses subject to certain exceptions) will serve out their time in the local county jails, rather than state prison. Punishment for most parole violations will be maxed at 180 days and will also be served in county jail.
Money will be allocated to the counties in recognition of the increased role they will be playing under realignment. The counties are encouraged to consider alternatives to incarceration. In each county: a board representing the perspectives of law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and public defenders will meet in order to develop strategies for housing the extra inmates and, hopefully, to hash out other ways to divert people from lives of crime.