The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Crime Prevention Unit is keeping a close eye on parolees in its patrol area.
“Our primary responsibility as law enforcement is to keep the community safe,” said SCV Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Dubin.
“It’s the goal of the Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station to assist post-release supervised person in becoming viable members of society,” he added. “To do this, new programs are being developed and implemented and resources are being allocated.”
There are currently 118 parolees from California’s AB 109 law, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011 and started releasing criminals in November 2011, living in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to station numbers.
Under the act, which is also known as the Post-Release Community Supervision law, residents of an area are asked to work with law enforcement to help ensure compliance.
The move was part of a deal struck by the governor and Sheriff’s Departments statewide, as part of a move affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court to alleviate overcrowding in the state’s prison system.
“At the station level, we are leading the charge with support from our city, which is helping us take a proactive stance,” Dubin said. “It is our mission to ensure these persons are in compliance with the terms and conditions of their parole under AB 109. Part of our job in the CPU is to conduct periodic and random compliance checks.”
In the Sheriff’s Station’s patrol area, the 118 AB 109 offenders are looked after by five different zone leaders: Canyon Country – East has 30 offenders in its zone; Canyon Country – West has 21; Newhall has 19; Saugus has 23; and Valencia has 10. In the unincorporated areas, there are 15 individuals.
Their mission is three-fold, according to the law: to help the offenders become viable members of society; to make sure they’re in compliance; and to rehabilitate post-release community supervision parolees.
Dubin said the effects of AB 109 are still being closely watched and studied statewide; however, recent numbers from the Sheriff’s Department for the local Sheriff’s Station’s patrol area reflect rises in burglaries, larcenies and petty thefts, which are the types of crimes committed by many of the offenders released under AB 109.
Approximately one in three AB 109 offenders arrested by local sheriff’s deputies re-offend and are re-arrested, Dubin said.
These violators are often given so-called “flash incarcerations,” under the state’s law.
These flash incarcerations are a 10-day sentence given to offenders who re-violate under AB 109. The law was aimed at helping California reduce the number of inmates in the state’s 33 prisons to 137.5 percent of design capacity by June 27, 2013, as ordered by the Three-Judge Court and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The so-called “non, non, nons” for non‐violent offenders, non‐serious offenders, non‐sex offenders, are put in county jails under local custody, which is less expensive for the state than the more strenuous probation system, which requires a criminal on probation to check in with their probation officer.
“We’re closely monitoring these individuals,” Dubin said, “but it would be too early to draw conclusions after only a little bit more than a year of the law’s inception.”