Board of supervisors seizes oversight of Sacramento’s prison-realignment funds

County officials now with direct say on how to spend criminal-justice dollars

In a move with lasting implications for how Sacramento spends its criminal-justice dollars, last week the county board of supervisors snatched budgetary authority from a panel whose decisions are under scrutiny.

Supervisors grumbled for two years about having no control over state “realignment” monies. These dollars started flowing in October 2011, when California shifted responsibility for its low-level-offender population to counties.

Since then, Sacramento has received more than $40 million, spending the vast majority on jail space and probation supervision under the authority of a Community Corrections Partnership.

But supervisors' April 23 decision amounted to a kneecapping of the CCP, which is made up of Sacramento's top law-enforcement officials.

As the CCP prepares to divvy $30 million, supervisors paused the hearing and asked county counsel John Whisenhunt to return with a resolution handing them the purse strings.

“Most other counties do not see the CCP as having authority over the actual budgeting and appropriation of the money,” Whisenhunt said.

Interim chief probation officer Suzanne Collins, who will be replaced by a permanent chief later this month, didn't object to the move.

Less reserved was Ascend co-founder Christine Galves: “I don't have time to kiss county counsel, but God bless you for your comments today.”