Crime Prevention May be Ramped-Up by County

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Orange County might soon scale-up its involvement in a statewide effort to lower the chances that convicted criminals will commit more crimes after being released from jail or prison.

County government officials are looking at participating in a state grant program aimed at “community recidivism and crime reduction services” for people released from prison, jail or juvenile hall, under probation or otherwise at risk of committing crimes.

If approved by county supervisors on Tuesday, Orange County officials would let state officials know they’re interested in distributing nearly $500,000 to non-government groups for the program.

It’s unclear what the county’s program would look like.

The effort comes amid huge pressure on California to cut its state prison population, in the wake of federal court rulings that overcrowding has created unconstitutional conditions.

To comply with the court rulings, Gov. Jerry Brown spearheaded a state law that transfers much of the state’s responsibility for new inmates to county jails.

Local officials across California, meanwhile, have complained the state isn’t adequately covering the extra costs for housing the additional prisoners.

Some law enforcement officials also claim the prisoner shift is causing an increase in crime in local communities.

The tension has renewed a focus on restorative justice and diversion programs, aimed at helping lower the chances that people will commit further crimes.

Such programs can include community-based treatment for mental health and drug issues, as well as counseling for female prisoners who have experienced sexual trauma.

Tuesday’s supervisors meeting starts a 9:30 a.m. Click here to read the staff report and attachments.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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