On October 1st, 2011, Assembly Bill 109 mandated that individuals sentenced to non-serious, non-violent, or non-sex offenses could serve their sentences in county jails instead of state prisons. The bill was mandated to be apart of California’s solution to reduce overcrowding, costs, and recidivism. It also helped California reduce the number of low-level inmates that have cycled in and out of state prisons.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) statistical analyses, the total state prison population was 162,369 in June 2011. Since the implementation of AB 109 and Prop 47, this number has decreased steadily at around 2% yearly. The population as of June 2017 was 131,260, which is a little over a 20% decrease since the measures were mandated. The CDCR also predicts that the prison population will continue to decrease over the next five years, and the parole population will continue to increase.
California has 33 state prisons that are operating at nearly 150% above capacity. According to The Sentencing Project’s statistical research on the California prison population, 8 Black and 2 Hispanics are incarcerated for every 1 White person incarcerated. This makes California the 8th highest ranked in racial disparity in incarceration. Assembly Bill 109 helps people of color because it disrupts the revolving door of minorities cycling in and out of prison. It helps in correcting overcrowding, disparities, and cuts expenses for our state.