AB 109 resulted in large numbers of convicted felons serving time in local jails, rather than prison as had been the case before passage. However, AB 109 did not increase the amount of local jail beds. Nearly 25% of the county jail population is now comprised of those serving a state prison sentence or "parole violation" sentence
and there are lots of dangerous people being held pre-trial.
The passage of AB 109 has resulted in those who commit thefts under $950 being assured of not being booked in jail or sentenced to jail.
Those who commit crimes that would have resulted in jail time prior to AB 109 know that local incarceration after conviction is unlikely.
How unlikely? Well, take petty theft, which under Prop 47 increased the amount allowed to be stolen before being a felony crime to $950 and altered the "petty theft with a prior" felony to apply to a small handful of defendants. With prison out of the picture, what about the likelihood of going to jail for stealing? A mere 176 people were serving misdemeanor theft sentences in county jail, with another 126 being held pre-trial. Chances of going to jail for stealing under $950 are slim and none--and slim is leaving town.
That leaves the pre-trial bail debate. Bail amounts reflect the seriousness of the underlying crime and dangerousness of the defendant. Jail statistics show the vast majority of jail inmates being held pre-trial are a danger to public safety or unlikely to return to court. 33% of those pre-trial inmates are being held without bail, and another 43% have bail amount in excess of $100,000. Other states that have changed bail rules have seen major
, with the
of defendants regardless of charges or danger to public safety.
Jail statistics - a revealing look at who is (and isn't) in jail. And, with more jail space being taken up by "state prisoners," it becomes even more important to have a fully staffed Sheriff's Department to deal with the thousands who are now on the street but would have been incarcerated in county jail before AB 109 and Prop 47.