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Placer County staff recently presented the Board of Supervisors with an update on the Criminal Justice Master Plan.

This Plan, when finished, will be the culmination of data collection, discussion and planning on Placer County’s criminal justice system. The Plan will take detailed look at a complex system and will provide guidance into the future. As part of Tuesday’s update, the Board received a report prepared by an independent consultant that takes a close look at the county’s system.

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Development of Placer County’s Master Plan comes as all 58 California counties conclude the third year of implementing AB 109, Public Safety Realignment, state legislation that transfers responsibility for lower-level felons from state prison and parole systems to county jail and probation systems. Realignment was in response to federal court decisions requiring California to reduce prison overcrowding. One of the central tenets of Realignment is that local jurisdictions can be more effective than the state in their treatment of lower-level offenders, reducing high rates of parolees returning to prison after parole revocations.

Placer County, in responding to Realignment, hired David Bennett Consulting to work with county officials in developing the Master Plan. Bennett’s report is a 251-page document on the how the system currently operates, and identifies options and offers methodologies for developing the final Master Plan.

“One of the things that Mr. Bennett identified was how well our organization works as a team,” said Board Chairman Jack Duran, who is also co-chair of the Community Corrections Partnership. “We are blessed to have a criminal justice organization that works well together.”

Developing the Criminal Justice Master Plan consists of a three-phase process: Data collecting and analysis leading to findings and recommendations; reviewing the findings and recommendations; and developing an implementation plan and determining where to best invest public safety resources.

The first two phases have been completed and there are now three workgroups meeting regularly to complete the final phase of the Plan. These workgroups include the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney, Probation, Health and Human Services, the County’s three indigent defense firms, the County Executive Office, local law enforcement and the Superior Court. Six Superior Court judges are leading the workgroups.

All three workgroups begun meeting this summer and are developing an implementation plan. They will meet twice monthly through December. In addition, the Community Corrections Partnership is meeting monthly to encourage public discourse between Partnership members, service providers and community stakeholders.

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