By Kenneth Klein/Contributing Writer
A custody realignment plan that shifts some state prisoners to California’s counties was a hot topic Tuesday during a second-quarter financial review for San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.
The county’s financial experts reviewed several departmental reports; some expected to need additional funds and others said they won’t because of increased revenues and cost-saving changes.
County Administrator Jim Grant said the budget is about $450 million for 2012-2013 with about a $2 million to $3 million shortfall.
In reports to the board and public, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and Chief County Probation Officer Jim Salio said they have their realignment jobs cut out for them. They detailed the setting up ongoing programs, staffing and more jail space for the new population.
The bright spot appeared to come from Salio, who said not much of the realignment funds have been spent and a ballot measure for 2012-2013 funding is being proposed. A federal court decision has required the state to lower its prison population by 30,000 inmates. One method is sending some offenders to county jails.
“We are on track,” said Salio, adding he’s hoping for a constitutional amendment to guarantee funding. Brown has provided the county one-time grants — $150,000 for planning, $155,275 for start-up costs and $2.2 million for the prisoner shift.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB109 in late April, “realigning” certain state responsibilities for lower-level offenders, adult parolees and juvenile offenders to local jurisdictions. The realignment is in motion now.
Parkinson said the funds will provide more jail housing, 15 more correctional officers and staff, home detention and electronic monitoring programs. Mental health and drug and alcohol help will also be available, said Parkinson, adding he expects to receive between 130 and 170 state inmates.
Third District Supervisor Adam Hill asked Parkinson if he thought the local judges were on board with the program. Parkinson said he thought the judges were on the “same page” as far as sentencing issues.
Salio said he’s also working on increasing treatment opportunities, hiring more officers and staff. Both agencies participate in community-oriented monitoring groups.
As for the department updates, the sheriff’s department may need more money for under-budgeted garage charges and fuel costs as well as jail clothing and other items. The increase in the jail population pre-dates the realignment, Parkinson and county staff said.
Social services for the elderly, blind and disabled must also have more money because of rising care costs, staff members said.
The planning and building department will not seek more funding as fees from large projects and budget savings, and neither will general services as that department prepares to contract with a copy and print vendor.