Is Realignment a Model for Reform? 

Governor Brown and Alameda County officials have lauded the overhaul of state prisons. But is it really working?

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"AB 109 dollars can be spent anyway that the county deems is going to best serve the needs of community safety and justice," said Galvis of Communities United for Youth Restorative Justice. "So that could be interpreted as supporting after school programs, employment training programs, all kinds of opportunities that we think will really achieve the goal of public safety and justice."

Alameda County, and California at large, has an unprecedented opportunity to reform its criminal justice system. However, a comprehensive data system needs to be developed first, one that deciphers which practices work and which ones don't. At this point, Alameda County doesn't even know how it is spending AB 109 funds.

"We need to get serious about evidence-based practices, and we need to be able to make informed decisions about what's working and what's not working," said Williams of Urban Strategies Council. "We can build out a county criminal justice system that makes sense, that protects public safety, that works with people who need support and helps to get them out of the criminal justice system, but I look at what we're doing and I say, 'This is not going to get us there.' This is going to be another maladaptation of what we have done for the past thirty or forty years in criminal justice in this state."

Correction: The original version of this story mistakenly stated that Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi is a member of the county's Community Corrections Partnership Executive Committee. We also neglected to note that Alameda Police Chief Mike Noonan is a member of the committee.

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