Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Valley lawmakers ask governor for more prison money

More than a dozen Valley legislators are joining the region’s counties in urging Gov. Jerry Brown to deliver more money for public safety.

A letter sent to the governor this week by 13 lawmakers identifies the bum deal that the San Joaquin Valley got when it came to slicing up funding for the governor’s prison realignment. The letter asks the governor to reconsider the distribution.

“I haven’t met one person who thinks the current allocation is fair,” said state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, who spearheaded the bipartisan push in Sacramento to get the Valley more money.

Brown’s prison realignment is shifting low-level felons once managed by the state to local jails and probation departments. Many law enforcement agencies are complaining that the shift is bringing too much responsibility and not enough money.

As revealed in the Bee last spring, the 12 counties between Kern and San Joaquin are getting smaller shares of realignment funding this year than they got last year.  Meanwhile,  seven of nine Bay Area counties are getting larger shares.

Fresno County, for example, is getting $12,176 for every offender projected to be shifted from state to county supervision while Contra Costa County in the Bay Area is getting $40,346 per offender.

Brown officials have told The Bee that they’re not taking responsibility for the allocation, saying they passed it off to the county’s statewide lobbying association. The counties, however, have been bickering within the association.

Rubio hopes that, at the least, next year’s state budget will contain a more equitable formula for distributing the funds.

Among the lawmakers signing this week’s letter to the governor are Sens. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, and Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and Assembly members Connie Conway, R-Tulare, Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, Henry Perea, D-Fresno, and Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals.


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