Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff said the county’s crime rates have spiked during the first year of the state’s prisoner realignment. Under that program certain inmates have been transferred from state prisons to county jails to serve out the remainder of their sentences. Sheriffs from throughout the state have said this has increased crime rates in their respective districts.
Statistics show that Riverside crime had dropped between 2008-9, he said. Those rates continued to decline during the first part of 2010. That trend has since reversed. Violent crime rates throughout the state are nearly twice the national average. Crime against property has reportedly gone up by about 9 percent.
A representative for the Riverside County jails said the reasoning for this is simple. Thousands of local detainees have needed to be released prior to their sentences being up. The influx of state prisoners has caused significant issues when it comes to jail overcrowding and the county is doing its best to work through the growing pains. Plans to expand the Indio Jail are already in the works, they said.
Riverside jails said they received nearly 20% more prisoners than the state had initially projected. The Sheriff’s Department is working with local law enforcement in order to come up with a proactive way to reverse the increased crime trend. Those conversations are ongoing.