Our guest this week on the Circle of Insight is Senior District Attorney Jeff Ferguson discussing criminal Justice realignment.
He joined the Office of Orange County District Attorney in February 1983, assigned first to juvenile court. In the ensuing years he prosecuted cases in every branch court throughout Orange County, from misdemeanors of all types to felony burglary, robbery, kidnapping, gang cases and attempted murder.
In 2001 I was the Orange County District Attorney liaison to the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center of the CA Department of Justice, assisting local law enforcement officers with investigations of identity theft and international trafficking in methamphetamine precursor chemicals committed by suspected associates of terrorist organizations.
Then in 2009 I was one of four Senior Deputy District Attorneys handpicked by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to join the Felony Strike Team to address the problems posed by the economic downturn and explosion of felony cases clogging the trial courts.
He will be discussing the problem with the releasing of prisoners into society as directed by Assembly Bill 109.
California was ordered to reduce the state prison population to about 110,000, or 137.5 percent of prison capacity, as a way to improve the quality of inmates’ health. To accomplish that, Assembly Bill 109, the state’s prison realignment law, shifted the responsibility of monitoring lower-level inmates from the state to the counties.
Under AB 109, those convicted of a triple-non offense — nonviolent, nonserious, nonsexual — would be eligible to be supervised by county probation departments or serve their sentences in county jail. AB 109 was implemented Oct. 1, 2011, as a way for the state to comply with a federal three-judge panel’s order to decrease the population of California’s prisons. The panel found the overcrowded conditions in state prisons led to inadequate medical attention for inmates.
However, high-ranking law enforcement officials from across the state have talked about the dangers of prison realignment.