AB109 spurs smart justice in California

Assembly Bill 109 caused a significant stir in California. Counties in CA faced a slew of new responsibilities, including managing a population of offenders they had never seen before. Since the change caused by AB109 in 2011, counties have used a variety of methods for dealing with these changes, with varying degrees of success. BI Incorporated has helped many of those counties implement programs to address challenges and have seen positive outcomes as a result.

April was National County Government month, and the theme was “Smart Justice.” Through this theme, the California State Association of Counties sought to highlight the ways counties are managing this new population of offenders. CSAC found that counties are working smarter to manage their new responsibilities.

According to PublicCEO, counties are either embarking on or expanding existing programs designed to curb recidivism. Specifically, CSAC found that Glen, San Bernadino, San Mateo and San Joaquin counties – some of whom BI works with – use evidence-based practices to change criminogenic thinking patterns and alter behavior in a meaningful way.

CSAC found that while counties embark on this process in their own individualized way, the crux of their programs is similar. Offenders are assessed for their potential criminogenic factors, are offered treatment and training, and receive support in their efforts to find employment and housing. One program administrator pointed out that this approach reduces new criminal activity and costs less than sending a repeat offender back to jail. It seems smart justice truly is playing out in these and other California counties.