Transcript: Q&A with Sen. Bill Emmerson on the confirmation of CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard

Partial transcript of Q&A with Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) on the confirmation of Jeffrey Beard for Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations. The hearing was held before the state Senate Rules Committee on June 19, 2013:

State Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands):
…There have been all sorts of stories and rumors that individuals that have been released are now committing crimes. You at one point indicated that a part of the problem was that CDCR needs to do a better job of tracking Realignment impact. Cities in and around my district – the cities of San Bernardino, Redlands, and Pomona – have all seen dramatic jump in crimes in 2011 and 2012. What are the facts as we know them of the impact of Realignment in our communities? And what criteria have you set up to define its success or failure?

And I’d just like to point out that I have an article that just came out in the newspaper this week that in the city of Redland, the crime jumped up – violent crime – jumped up by 17% in 2011 and 2012. In San Bernardino, it jumped up by 21%. And both the numbers there are reflective not only of new crimes but also those who are out under the Realignment program…

CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard:
To begin with, the comment that I made about not knowing what we should be doing with Realignment and stuff was not related to CDCR but I was caught by a reporter after my first BSCC meeting and we had just approved the PPIC to come in and help the BSCC look at Realignment issues and help better define what the BSCC should be doing. And that was really my response was to the BSCC not to CDCR.

CDCR has been tracking Realignment, and in fact, we recently came out with a study that looked at a group of individuals before Realignment and a matched group of individuals after Realignment and it was done on a statewide basis. And what we found on a statewide basis is that the actual arrests were down post-Realignment. So less people were being arrested from that realigned group than pre-Realignment. Now, it’s only three months of data so it’s early but the encouraging thing is that it was down and the trend was down. There was a little upward trend on convictions but we expected that because more DAs were charging people who before they would have sent back to prison and now they’re charging those because they couldn’t do that.

So from that perspective, it looks like Realignment is working in that we’re not seeing an increase in arrests or increase in crime.

Now, that doesn’t mean that a certain locality might not be having an increase. But I think we have to remember that a lot of things can impact on crime in an area. Your economy can impact on it, whether or not you reduce your police department, so you reduce your probation staff. All of those things have to be taken into account.

I know there was another study that was done pre-Realignment but it was sort of instructive. It was a five-city study done by the Council of State governments which showed that only 20% of crimes committed by parolees or probationers. And within that group, they went back and looked at how many of those people that they looked at before were realigned offenses, and it was only 6%.

So I guess what I’m saying is that Realignment appears, at least from the initial data, to be working. It appears we’re not seeing an increase statewide in arrests. And it appears that overall crime they represent a very small segment of the overall crime and that we need to be looking at the whole crime issue. There may be other things driving some of the other increases beyond Realignment.

State Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands):
Due to all the problems that we are facing in our California prison system, it’s sort of following up on Sen. Lara’s question about your residency in Pennsylvania but you’re here full-time pretty much. I just want to know if – can we expect that you’re going to be here for a while – this is not a short-term appointment that you’ll be accepting?

CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard:


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