, 5 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
1. Realignment was a sprawling, complex bill that did a lot, but the part I’m focusing on was closing a giant fiscal moral hazard problem between county prosecutors and state prisons.
2. Prosecutors are county officials, and the county pays (mostly) their budgets. Jails and probation, where ppl go for lower-level misdemeanors, are also county-funded institutions.

Prisons, where ppl go for (more-serious) felonies, are state agencies.

That’s a problem.
3. Being harsher is actually CHEAPER for a county DA because it pushes the costs off the county and onto the state. Leniency is politically riskier AND more expensive.

So of course DAs over-avail themselves of “free” prison beds, and states have few to no ways to stop them.
4. Realignment, among other things, requires counties to detain ppl convicted of a wide range of felonies (“non-violent,” a term of art in CA, “non-serious,” which excludes a few other serious financial crimes, and “non-sexual”: the triple-nons).

Now the county has to pay.
5. Details quickly get complicated. Some of CA’s prison decline was offset—tho not entirely—by rising jail pops. And there are some tricky issues w state subsidies to the counties.

But still: making counties pay made counties pay attention.

And other states could do this too.
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