LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 2011 California law that sends lower-level felons to county lock-ups to serve their time instead of state prison has caused a spike in narcotics smuggling in county jails, sheriff’s officials say.
To get a sense of the scope, The Associated Press contacted the state’s 10 most populous counties and found that seven of the 10 reported upticks in narcotics cases in their local jails since 2011, the first full year of the “realignment law.”
There is no reporting requirement and no one agency or organization tracking drugs in jails. The ways in which counties tracked the problem varied and several counties were unable to provide numbers, but instead provided estimates and anecdotal evidence.
Some counties provided statistics going back to 2009, while others started tracking in 2010 or 2011. The AP compared all counties from 2011 to the present, or up to the most recent year that data existed, for consistency.
Here is what each county, in order of population, reported.
1. Los Angeles County, 10 percent increase (estimate)
2. San Diego County, 131 percent increase
3. Orange County, 102 percent increase (2011-2013, last year available)
4. Riverside County, no statistics but reported a 50 percent increase in drugs seized
5. San Bernardino County, 30 percent increase (2011-2012, last year available)
6. Santa Clara County, 2,350 percent increase (2 cases to 49 cases)
7. Alameda County, did not respond
8. Sacramento County, no statistics but anecdotal evidence of increase. Drugs are discovered daily versus weekly prior to new law’s implementation.
9. Contra Costa County, reported no significant increase
10. Fresno County, reported no significant increase
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