Azusa police probation sweep targets felons released under A.B. 109

AZUSA — Police Friday carried out probation compliance checks primarily targeting convicted felons sentenced under Assembly Bill 109 of 2011, also known as the California prison realignment.
Of the roughly half-dozen probationers within Azusa visited by gang investigators, all but one had been sentenced under A.B. 109 guidelines, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said in a written statement.
While the operation resulted in no arrests, “officers left those probationers visited with the knowledge that the Azusa Police Department would hold them accountable in terms of their probation and early release status while residing in the city,” Madaloni said.
Under the prison realignment, which took effect in October of 2011, criminals whose most recent convictions are deemed “non-serious” and “non-violent,” and who are not considered to be high-risk sex offenders, are eligible to serve their sentences in county jail rather than state prison. The law was meant to reduce prison overcrowding as mandated by federal authorities.
Due to county jail overcrowding, inmates are often released early from county custody.
The post-release supervision of criminals sentenced under A.B. 109 has also changed since the law’s implementation. Instead of state parole, they are either supervised by county probation departments — which local law enforcement officials say is already overburdened — or released with no supervision at all, depending on specific circumstances.
Azusa police and other departments have raised concerns that felons released onto county probation, known as Post-Release Community Supervision, are not adequately supervised due to a lack of resources. Police point to increases in property crime rates since the implementation of A.B. 109 as evidence of the problem.
“As a result of this local crime surge and its correlation with A.B. 109 releases, the Azusa Police Department has made such compliance searches a policing priority in hopes of curbing unlawful behavior,” Madaloni said.

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