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Sonoma County expands workforce for shift in state prisoners, parolees

Sonoma County expects to spend about $10.4 million in state funds by next June 30 supervising criminals and parolees who until last year would have been handled by the state.

Starting last fall, those offenders with low-level, nonviolent offenses were shifted to counties. Sonoma County spent about $3.6 million in state funds in 2011-2012 on the new duties. The money supported about 20 new county jobs, most of them sworn peace officer positions in the probation department and Sheriff's Office.

County supervisors Tuesday approved a 2012-2013 spending plan that would add five more probation officers, six correctional deputies, a jail cook and about five jobs in health and human services. The board also set aside about $1.3 million to cover unexpected expenses.

The county received $9.3 million from the state this year for the program and carried over about $1.2 million in unspent funds from last budget year.

As of Tuesday, 172 inmates in the roughly 1,350-bed jail system are linked to the state's realignment program, a level slightly over projections, sheriff's officials said.

Just over 240 state parolees have moved to county supervision, more than the 201 initially estimated, probation officials said.

The availability of future funding is linked to Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposals and remains a concern, sheriff's and probation officials said.

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@pressdemocrat.com.


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