As state officials continue assess which counties will get a financial boost to expand their jail facilities, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday received an update on how staff and local law enforcement have handled prison realignment during the past two years.
”A new community corrections resource center is a core element to Humboldt's realignment plan,” county Chief Probation Officer Bill Damiano told the board, adding that a center could serve as a “one-stop shop” for reducing recidivism -- or repeat offenses -- in the county.
California Assembly Bill 109, known as the state's prison realignment law, transferred the responsibility for parole violators and inmates convicted of non-violent, non-sexual or non-serious crimes to county jails in order to reduce state prison populations as ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The law also gave funding to the state's counties and mandated that local governments create a Community Corrections Partnership to implement programs.
In 2012, the state passed Senate Bill 1022, which allowed counties to apply for as much as $20 million to expand jail facilities. Humboldt County is currently competing with 14 others for funds to build a 40-bed jail and resource center.
Damiano, who chairs the Humboldt County Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee, said 43 percent of the crimes committed by AB 109 offenders have been alcohol or drug related, and 29 percent have been thefts. He said he believes both types of crimes can be reduced with the proposed resource center -- which would host offices for probation officers, a behavioral health team and job training counselors.
He said another core element to the county's plan is jail alternatives, which include electronic GPS monitoring.
”We haven't had GPS for about a decade here for adult offenders,” Damiano said.
He also said that the county is contracting with the California Center for Rural Policy to build a database of realignment statistics so staff can better address the effectiveness of the programs.
In other business, 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell announced that the 650-foot replacement water line for the Weott Community Services District was successfully constructed and carried across the South Fork Eel River.
The district has been relying on a temporary patch on its line since a leak sprung after 20,000 gallons of water were stolen from the tank, prompting the county board of supervisors to declare a local emergency in August. On Tuesday, as part of the consent calendar, the board unanimously voted to continue the declaration.
State Highway 254, also known as the Avenue of the Giants, has been temporarily closed since Monday while repairs are underway. It will remain closed through Dec. 13.
Catherine Wong can be reached at 441-0514 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter and Tout @cmwong27.