Realignment banner

Criminal Justice Realignment Resource Center

Overview

Court-related impact of criminal justice realignment

Sentencing. The Criminal Justice Realignment Act will eliminate prison as a sentence option for various felonies by authorizing courts to impose terms of over one year in county jail for certain felonies committed by specified defendants. There is no limit to the amount of time that may be served in county jail if the conviction is for a felony punishable by imprisonment in county jail. Offenders who serve their sentences in county jail pursuant to this change in the law are not subject to automatic parole or postrelease supervision. However, the court will be authorized to impose a sentence that includes a period of county jail time less than the maximum allowed by law, and a subsequent period of mandatory supervision, for a total period not to exceed that of the maximum sentence allowed by law.
(Pen. Code § 1170(h), effective October 1, 2011.)

Revocation hearing officer. Superior courts will be authorized to appoint hearing officers to carry out the duties of the courts in conducting parole and community postrelease revocation hearings. Appointment to serve as a revocation hearing officer will require that the individual has been an active member of the State Bar for at least 10 years continuously prior to appointment; was a judge of a court of record of California within the last 5 years or is currently eligible for the Assigned Judges Program; or was a commissioner, magistrate, referee, or hearing officer authorized to perform the duties of a subordinate judicial officer of a court of record of California within the last 5 years. The superior courts of two or more counties may appoint the same person as a hearing officer.
(Gov. Code § 71622.5, effective October 1, 2011.)

Postrelease community supervision. Persons released from state prison on or after October 1, 2011, after serving a prison term for a felony that is not a serious felony (as described in Pen. Code § 1192.7(c)), a violent felony (as described in Pen. Code § 667.5(c)), a third strike (pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Pen. Code § 667 or paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Pen. Code § 1170.12), a crime where the person is classified as a high risk sex offender, or a crime where the person is required as a condition of postrelease supervision to undergo treatment by the California Department of Mental Health, will be supervised by a county agency, such as a probation department (to be determined by the board of supervisors). All other persons released from state prison on or after October 1, 2011, and all persons currently on parole will continue to be supervised by state parole.
(Pen. Code, § 3451.effective October 1, 2011.)

Violation of condition of postrelease community supervision. County supervising agencies will have authority to dispose of violations of conditions of postrelease supervision using specified intermediate sanctions up to and including a period of “flash incarceration” in county jail for up to 10 days. There is no court involvement in cases disposed of in this way.
(Pen. Code, § 3454, effective October 1, 2011.)

Revocation of postrelease supervision. If a supervising county agency determines, following application of its assessment processes, that authorized intermediate sanctions up to and including flash incarceration are not appropriate, the supervising county agency shall petition the revocation hearing officer to revoke and terminate postrelease supervision. The Judicial Council must adopt forms and rules of court to establish uniform statewide procedures to implement the final revocation process.

Upon a finding that the person has violated the conditions of postrelease supervision, the revocation hearing officer shall have authority to (1) return the person to postrelease supervision with modifications of conditions, if appropriate, including a period of incarceration in county jail; (2) revoke postrelease supervision and order the person to confinement in the county jail; or (3) refer the person to a reentry court pursuant to Penal Code section 3015 or other evidence-based program in the hearing officer’s discretion. Confinement pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not exceed a period of 180 days in the county jail.
(Pen. Code, § 3455, effective October 1, 2011.)

State parole supervision. Phase I (October 1, 2011, to July 1, 2013). Persons released from state prison on or after October 1, 2011, who do not meet the criteria described above for postrelease community supervision will continue to be subject to the jurisdiction of and parole supervision by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Until July 1, 2013, the Board of Parole Hearings will continue to conduct all revocation proceedings. Persons whose parole is revoked by the board will be referred to county jail, rather than being returned to state prison. There is no court involvement in revocation of parole for these individuals during phase I.
(Pen. Code, § 3000.08, effective October 1, 2011, and operative until July 1, 2013.)

Phase II (beginning July 1, 2013. The supervising parole agency will have authority to dispose of violations of conditions of parole using authorized intermediate sanctions up to and including a period of “flash incarceration” in county jail for up to 10 days. There is no court involvement in cases disposed of in this way. If the supervising parole agency has determined, following application of its assessment processes, that intermediate sanctions up to and including flash incarceration are not appropriate, the supervising agency shall petition the revocation hearing officer to revoke parole. The Judicial Council must adopt forms and rules of court to establish uniform statewide procedures to implement the final revocation process.

Upon a finding that the person has violated the conditions of parole, the revocation hearing officer shall have authority to (1) return the person to parole supervision with modifications of conditions, if appropriate, including a period of incarceration in county jail; (2) revoke parole and order the person to confinement in the county jail; or (3) refer the person to a reentry court pursuant to section 3015 or other evidence-based program in the hearing officer’s discretion. Confinement pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not exceed a period of 180 days in the county jail.
(Pen. Code, § 3000.08, effective July 1, 2013.)

Community corrections partnership. Each county’s local community corrections partnership is required to recommend a local plan to the county board of supervisors for the implementation of the Realignment Act. The plan shall be voted on by an executive committee consisting of the chief probation officer of the county as chair, a chief of police, the sheriff, the district attorney, the public defender, the presiding judge of the superior court, or his or her designee, and specified county representatives.

Contact Us

For assistance regarding criminal justice realignment, issues and questions may be submitted to:

Administrative Office of the Courts
Criminal Justice Court Services Office
E-mail:  crimjusticerealign@jud.ca.gov
Phone: 415- 865-8994

Sign up for the Realignment Listserve to receive updates and share ideas.