Kern County officials are about to ask for more state funding to handle prison realignment. They say they're dealing with double the amount of offenders the state predicted the county would have to deal with.
This year, the state based realignment funding on county population size. Kern County officials think funding should be based on the number of extra offenders each county handles.
"Certainly, we need more money," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
That was the sentiment expressed briefly at Tuesday morning's Community Corrections Partnership meeting. They say they need more money because they're handling more offenders.
"They sorely underestimated the number of post-release, community supervision offenders we were going to get back here," said David Kuge, Chief Kern County Probation Officer.
The state estimated the Kern County Probation Department would handle 1,000 extra offenders. Since realignment, they have had an extra 1,700.
"I can see those numbers going up over 2,000," said Kuge.
The state anticipated Kern County jails would handle an extra 2,000 inmates. They've had 4,500 extra offenders.
"We're full all the time," said Sheriff Youngblood.
So, county supervisors plan to ask the state for more money. Initially, the state gave Kern County $10 million to handle prison realignment. That was based on the number of offenders coming to the county. Last year, the state divvied out money based on county population.
"It's unfortunate that when they determined this formula they didn't recognize the amount of people we were getting back," said Kuge.
Kern County got $22 million. $18 million of it went to the Sheriff's and Probation Departments and $4 million to rehabilitation services. But, the county said they need more money for services.
"We don't have enough programs out there to service all of these people, and, unfortunately, some of them do fall through the cracks," said Kuge.
The county thinks getting more money will be a tough sell to the state.
"I don't know if we can do that this year or next year because it is set. But, maybe in the future if the funding is still there we might be able to make some changes," said Kuge.