On Monday, the teams took to the field and began compliance checks on criminal offenders assigned to supervision under the Probation Department, as a result of California’s AB109 criminal justice realignment act.
Each team consists of one probation officer and one sheriff’s deputy. Their focus is to make sure offenders are attending mandated classes (such as substance abuse and anger management treatment and counseling), keeping scheduled appointments with probation officers, and following other terms and conditions of their post-custody, or in-lieu-of custody, supervision. The CRTs will hold offenders accountable, and if necessary, will apprehend those who violate their probation terms.
“As a result of Criminal Justice Realignment and court-ordered limits on prison and jail capacity, more and more criminals are being released early from jail and prison, or being given alternative sanctions,” Sheriff Bill Brown said. “As a result, it’s important to ensure that offenders stay in compliance with the terms and conditions of their supervision. By teaming with the Probation Department, we can do a better job of holding offenders accountable and protecting the public by reducing recidivism.”
There are more than 400 AB 109 offenders assigned to probation in Santa Barbara County. Under the new law, they do not qualify for state parole and have to meet the criteria of “non-serious, non-violent, and non-sex offender crimes” to be on the program. The CRTs will assist the probation officers who supervise these AB 109 offenders.
“Realignment presented counties with a challenge and an opportunity to respond to criminal offenders in a different way,” Chief Probation Officer Beverly Taylor said. “Funding for realignment in Santa Barbara County is distributed in a balanced manor: basic service needs (including housing and treatment); case management and supervision; and custody and enforcement efforts. Our new collaborative Compliance Response Team approach is a unique intervention that provides a blend of services. These include enhanced supervision and targeted enforcement, as well as the opportunity to influence the offender’s reentry success. The program offers another layer of accountability and public safety.”
The mobile CRTs are the latest development in a long history of collaboration between the Sheriff’s Department and the Probation Department. The teams will have offices at the Probation Department in Santa Barbara and in Santa Maria. They will also conduct joint training together and be under the general supervision of the Probation Department.
— Sgt. Mark Williams is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.