Some members of the Riverside Police Department believe that the state’s prisoner realignment program could be responsible for recent upticks in time. Chief Sergio Diaz said he is currently evaluating the numbers and is comparing them with recent studies, and he doesn’t like what he sees.
The theory of inmate alignment goes something like this. It begins with the transfer certain inmate populations from state prisons to county jails in order to serve out the rest of their sentences. This will in turn reduce the number of state prisoners and can pacify the US Supreme Court’s mandate that overcrowded conditions be rectified. Local jails said this has caused them to reach if not exceed rated capacity, and has let them to release certain low-level local offenders prior to their sentences being up.
It has also reportedly led to higher-risk offenders being supervised by local law enforcement as opposed to state parole officers.
Riverside jails continue to say they simply do not have the needed room to house offenders. A recent report indicated the county received more than 20% more inmates than the state said they would. After boasting 10 straight years of lessened crime rates, they said, those numbers have begun to reverse. Many believe it is a direct result of the realignment.
Some have proposed constructing a new jail in Indio. Opponents of that plan say greater focus needs to be placed on providing programs that focus on reducing recidivism rates. For now, the matter is ongoing. The Riverside Police Department declined further comment.