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Sen. Lowenthal Hosts Virtual Townhall on Prisoners

Residents are asked to submit questions on community concerns about changes in how state convicts will be jailed and paroled.

Changing law will not provoke an exodus from state prisons to a jail near you, State Sen. Alan Lowenthal wanted to stress this week. But many future convicts will serve their terms in L.A. County Jail as opposed to state prisons. And Lowenthal's office, recognizing some great concern over a "newly enacted public safety reallignment," has arranged for an online town hall session March 20 for the public to ask questions of authorities most involved.

Besides Lowenthal, they are: Terri McDonald, Undersecretary of Operations for the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation; Lieutenant Allen Castellanos, head of Operations, ; Drew Soderborg, Senior Fiscal and Policy analyst at the Legislative Analyst's Office.

Here are the details his office released Tuesday afternoon:

WHAT: A virtual townhall on statewide public safety realignment WHEN: Tuesday, March 20, 6:30pm – 7:30pm WHERE: Live feed online at sd27.senate.ca.gov

On March 20, at 6:30pm, Sen. Lowenthal will host an online virtual townhall focusing on the newly enacted statewide public safety realignment. The event will be streamed live on the Senator's website at sd27.senate.ca.gov.
The goal of the townhall is to provide an update on realignment, answer the public's questions, and dispel some common misconceptions regarding this public safety issue.

The state is under a federal mandate to reduce overcrowding in California's state prisons. To accomplish this, the state on Oct. 1, 2011 adopted a realignment program shifting authority over certain categories of offenders and parolees to local counties instead of the state.

The categories are known as the 3'N's: non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual, though not all offenders in these categories are eligible. Offenders convicted of nearly 60 voter- defined 'high risk' penal code violations that technically fall under the three 'N' categories are required by law to serve their time in state prison.

Since Oct. 1, 2011 offenders sentenced under the applicable three 'N' categories will be either remanded to county jails or paroled.

Parolees in these categories, including current state prison inmates who are paroled in the future, must now report to county probation authorities instead of state authorities. No inmates currently in state prison will be transferred to county jails or released early. Joining the Senator for the hour-long forum will be several experts offering a view of and answering questions about realignment from their unique perspectives. Terri McDonald, Under Secretary of Operations for the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) will offer a look at realignment from a state corrections system perspective.

Offering a local county perspective will be Lieutenant Allen Castellanos, head of Operations at the Cerritos Sheriff Station.

Joining the panel to share a fiscal and analytic view will be Drew Soderborg, Senior Fiscal and Policy analyst at the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office.
For more information or to submit a question at any time for the panel, please visit the Sen. Lowenthal’s website at sd27.senate.ca.gov.

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