How did California’s “Realignment” law change California’s county-run probation System?
The Realignment law (“AB 109”) fundamentally changed sentencing law and created new forms of community supervision in California. Because of prison overcrowding, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce the number of people it was holding in state prisons. To do this, California decided to keep only people convicted of certain serious felonies in prison. For people convicted of felonies that are “non-serious” and “non-violent,” California transferred responsibility from the state prisons and parole board to the county jails and probation departments. This means that:
- If you were convicted after October 1, 2011, of a felony that falls within the Realignment definition of non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual (the 3 “nons” or “non-non-non”), you will serve your time in county jail instead of state prison. (You also must not have any prior serious, violent or sexual felony convictions.) Under Realignment, you may also be allowed to serve some of your sentence on community supervision, instead of spending the full term in custody.
- If you were convicted of a “non-non-non” with no priors before October 11, 2011, and you are serving your sentence in prison, you will be put on county-level supervision (PRCS) instead of state parole when you are released.
Here are the 4 types of community supervision after Realignment: (1) informal probation (also known as “summary” or “court” probation); (2) formal probation; (3) post-release community supervision (PRCS) (new after Realignment) and (4) mandatory supervision (new after Realignment).