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California GOP Lawmakers: Realignment Not Working, So Fix It

Mar 19, 2013

Republican state lawmakers criticize Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown's criminal justice realignment program at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Republicans in the California legislature are criticizing Governor Jerry Brown’s shift of prisoners from the state to counties – and putting forth legislation they say would help reduce the risk to public safety.

GOP Senator Jim Nielsen says the program known as criminal justice “realignment” needs to be scrapped.

“It unleashed an unprecedented crime wave affecting everyone in the state of California, and I’ll argue no bill ever passed by this legislature has had more dire and severe and egregious consequences,” says Nielsen.

But since the governor stands by realignment, Republicans who would prefer to overhaul the program entirely are proposing some smaller changes.

Many of the GOP bills would send certain offenders who would currently go to county jails back to state prison.  Republicans say they’re particularly concerned about the increase in sex offenders removing their GPS tracking devices.

In response, the Brown administration defends realignment as the best available solution given a U.S. Supreme Court order to reduce California’s overcrowded prisons.