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AB 109-Realignment

AB 109, also called realignment, became California law in 2011. The impetus behind this law was inadequate medical care, giving rise to unconstitutional conditions for prison inmates, due to overcrowding in the state prisons. In 2011, The US Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its prison population by an additional 33,000 inmate in a 5-4 decision.

The law, in essence, requires inmates to be "realigned" from state prison to county jail (local prison) if they are considered a "non, non, non." That is, inmates with non-violent, non-serious, and nonsexual convictions are to be realigned to local prison, pursuant to penal code section 1170(h)(3). The law generally applies to the inmates most recent convictions.

Penal Code section 1170(h) changed the custody designation for over 500 felonies in the State of California. Most drug convictions – HS 11377, HS 11378, HS 11379, HS 11350, HS 11351, HS 11359, HS 11360, etc. – that result in prison, are now realigned to local prison. The purpose of the law was to save money for the state by not having these inmates serve time in state prisons; reserve state prison space for the most serious offenders; and offer lower level inmates more alternatives to custody.

The law also changed parole laws and procedure. Prior to 2011, inmates on parole could be sent back to state prison for violating the terms of their parole for up to one year, without credits. Under AB 109, inmates are not sent back to state prison for violating their parole; they are sent to county jail. The maximum amount of time they can serve is 180 days with credits.

Furthermore, there is no longer mandatory parole when inmates are sent to local prison. If the inmate receives some form of supervision after released from custody, the inmate is now placed on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS), which involves being supervised by a probation officer, not parole agent. Also, the court has authority under PC 1170(h)(5) to "split" sentences. That is, courts can split the custody time and community supervision time. For example, a four-year local prison term may be split two years in custody, two years community supervision.

If you are facing criminal charges, and you want more information about your case with respect to AB 109, please contact my office. As a San Diego criminal attorney, I can analyze your situation and defend your rights.