PBS: Costa Mesa Debates Impact of Prisoner Realignment

While state and local officials continue to argue over the effects of prisoner realignment, Costa Mesa city leaders are having their own debate on the issue.

As PBS SoCaL’s David Nazar reports, Mayor Jim Righeimer argued that the shift in prisoner responsibilities, also known as Assembly Bill 109, is causing an uptick in crime, while the city’s police chief says he’s not so sure.

“How do we know that? Because crime throughout the state statistically has gone up in the last 17 months since this program’s been in effect,” said Righeimer.  “Crime has been going down over the last decade, and now we’re seeing a rise in it.”

“I would say that it’s premature at this point to say that it is directly related to AB 109,” said Police Chief Tom Gazsi, adding that it will take about another year to gather evidence linking a crime increase to AB 109.

At issue is former prisoners who, instead of being released under state parole supervision, are instead monitored by county probation officers.

The segment aired this week on PBS SoCaL’s “Real Orange.” Click the video above to see the full report.