RACHEL COOK | Bakersfield Californian
A new kind of inmate is getting comfortable in Kern County jails: one more savvy, sneaky and sophisticated.
Evidence of it was laid out on a table earlier this month — weapons cobbled together from nails and plastic wrap by Lerdo Jail minimum security prisoners…Jail staff found the same make-shift weapons before realignment…but now they’re seeing two or three times as many…
Drug and prison gang problems are also growing in the jails, [said] Chief Deputy Kevin Zimmermann, who oversees the county’s jails…
Convicts may violate their parole on purpose to come into the jail for a short period of time and sell contraband such as drugs, he said. Outsiders can also bring money to put on inmates’ accounts to pay for drugs purchased inside the jail.
“It is organized, it’s getting more organized, and the sophistication level of these inmates is just increasing as we stand here…”
Zimmermann predicted minimum security offenders will become an “extinct species” as lesser ones are sent to alternative programs to make room for medium- and high-security inmates…(Full text at Bakersfield Californian )
The excerpted article at The Bakersfield Californian is an in-depth report on the problems county jails statewide are experiencing under realignment — AB 109 refugees are straining local jails as should have been expected. Paco recommends a thorough reading of this excellent report.
Of particular interest is the proposition, more accurately the reality, minimum security jail beds will soon be a thing of the past. Erstwhile minimum facility jails will be needed to house erstwhile medium security prison inmates.
Ultimately, so-called petty crime will carry no threat of incarceration. When that happens, shoplifting calls, for example, will burden local police agencies to the breaking point.
Many agencies already refuse to send officers to cold burglaries — Victims are instructed to file a report at the public desk or online. What other crimes will fall off law enforcement’s radar as realignment redefines crime and punishment?
(A tip of the Sombrero to Rider Capn Crunch for providing the link)