I wanted to take an opportunity as we proceed into the holiday season to provide some quick updates folks regarding criminal justice reform efforts in Alameda County, especially the county’s efforts at AB109 planning and implementation
Contributing to the ACCJR Blog
Got something to say about criminal justice reform in Alameda County? The ACCJR Blog invites you to submit guest postings for consideration as well as to actively comment on what we post. If you are interested in becoming a guest blogger, either named or anonymous, please let me know at juniousw at urbanstrategies.org.
Next Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform (ACCCJR) Meeting
The ACCCJR will meet in January to continue its work on recommendations for the year two AB109 plan and its alternative budget. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 15, 2013 from 9:00am to 12:00. Location to be determined and will be posted here. The recent open meeting of the Coalition brought together folks with diverse criminal justice interests ranging from immigration to labor to drone opponents to juvenile justice advocates. If you are interested in receiving notices of Coalition meetings, please contact me at juniousw at urbanstrategies.org.
Appointment of New Public Defender
Congratulations to Brandon Woods for his appointment as the new Public Defender for Alameda County. We look forward to working with him to improve the adults and juvenile criminal justice systems in the county. Thanks to Diane Bellas for her service to the community as the outgoing Public Defender.
Yes, We Do Have a New Chief Probation Officer
Although many questions remain regarding how it happened, congratulations are in order to LaDonna Harris who has been appointed to the permanent position of Alameda County Chief Probation Officer (CPO) after serving as Interim CPO for the past few months. We look forward to working with her as well to improve the functioning and outcomes of the criminal justice systems including putting fewer people into the system, keeping them in the system for shorter periods of time and increasing our effectiveness in supporting their transition back into the community.
AB109 Budget Allocation Update
The Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform has been actively engaged in efforts to get the County Board of Supervisors and the Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee (CCP-EC) to re-think their proposed allocations of the $29.2 million dollars that the state is providing the county for implementation of AB109 Criminal Justice Realignment. The Coalition members and other community stakeholders were successful in getting the Board of Supervisors not to move forward with the proposed allocations at their November 20th meeting and to refer the matter to the Public Protection Committee meeting of December 13, 2012. Coalition members and others had an opportunity to present to the Public Protection Committee at that meeting and raise a variety of issues including the need for a year two plan, more transparency in the budgeting and decision making process, increased allocations to community-based services among others. Supervisor Valle, who chairs the Public Protection Committee, encouraged the CCP-EC member agencies to meet with community stakeholders in an effort to address the concerns raised.
Year 2 AB109 Implementation Plan
One of the issues that the Coalition and others have raised is the importance of the CCP-EC to propose a year to plan to the Board as a guide for how funds should be allocated. As the process has been proceeding, the Board is being asked to adopt a plan without formal presentation and adoption of a plan. A plan is critically important foundation for allocation of the resources to ensure that funds are being allocated and expended consistent with the goals and priorities of a plan. The latest document presented at the CCP-EC meeting is an outline of the plan document (Outline of Year 2&3 AB109 plan). We have also received from our partners in Contra Costa County their plan which does a good job in closely linking action steps and priorities to the budget allocations (CCC AB109 Operations Budget Plan_Reccomendations_12.13.12).
The Coalition is in the process of developing an alternative budget for the allocation of the $29.2 million in state funds coming into the county for realignment. When the Coalition meets in early January we will be approving and releasing a draft of the alternative budget. Stay tuned.
Transparency, Open Government and Accountability
For some time now, various members of the Coalition have attempted to obtain more detailed information on the allocation and expenditure of funds from the first year of AB109 when the county received 9.2 million in state funds. The August 6th letter from the Coalition to the Board and the subsequent letter on September 20th requesting a response have gone unanswered. Consequently, some members of the Coalition have worked on and submitted a public records act request to county officials requesting a variety of information that would help us and the community at large to understand how AB109 funds are being used and with what results.
Have a peaceful and happy holiday season. See you in the new year.