California State Senator Ted Gaines calls Redding one of the cities hardest hit by prison realignment in the state.
The senator got a brief look at the Shasta County Jail Thursday from Sheriff Tom Bosenko, followed by a more extensive tour along with Assemblyman Brian Dahle later that afternoon.
When asked whether prison realignment, also known as AB 109, has affected Redding more than other cities in his district, Senator Gaines had a sobering answer.
"Well I think Redding is probably one of the toughest locations, probably in California, quite frankly,” Gaines said. “They had high rates of auto theft, drug use and other things and that has to be addressed; and so I want to hear from my Sheriff, I want to hear from my local elects, I want to hear from my constituents."
Sheriff Tom Bosenko said he appreciated Senator Gaines and Assemblyman Dahle making the effort to hear and see what’s going on.
“They’re the ones that made the appointment to come up and see firsthand the impacts that prison realignment is having on our community,” Bosenko said. “It has quite the reputation. We see the street crimes, whether it be stabbings, robberies or other associated crimes such as grant theft auto and burglary.”
Sheriff Bosenko also mentioned a long conversation he had with Governor Jerry Brown last week, giving him unfiltered information about the jail and the community.
Bosenko said the governor was sympathetic, but he can only sign bills passed by the legislature.
When asked about funding, Senator Gaines said money was available to help lower the crime rate, but the long-term goal isn’t that simple.
"I think we can look for additional funding. In the current budget there was an additional $500 million for realignment, but there are longer-term issues,” Gaines said. “There are issues that may take years to actually get them implemented. We're looking to see if there are some shorter term solutions and there are some discussions ongoing with regard to that."