Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 09/27/2011 07:15:14 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $27.6 million plan for the Probation Department to begin monitoring and providing services to low-level parolees beginning Saturday.

Under the state’s Public Safety Realignment Plan, approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in April, county probation departments will take over the monitoring and treatment of low-level offenders released from prison.

Between 5,500 and 6,500 parolees will pour into the county in the next three years, and 108 new probation officers will be hired and assigned to every law enforcement agency in the county to help monitor parolees who are at a high risk for re-offending due to prior offenses, Chief Probation Officer Michelle Scray said.

Under the new state guidelines, the county where the offender was originally sentenced is the county that monitors the offender once they are released from custody. In addition, the new law allows for newly sentenced low-level offenders – offenders whose crimes are non-serious, non-violent and non-sex related – serve their sentence in a county jail rather than state prison.

Roughly 300 low-level offenders are expected to be sentenced to county jail on a monthly basis once the new law goes into effect on Saturday, Scray said.

Three-day reporting centers will open in San Bernardino, the West Valley and the High Desert to serve as a one-stop shop where parolees can do everything from checking in with their probation officer to getting a job referral, Scray said.

The Public Safety Realignment Plan only applies to offenders whose crimes were not serious, violent, or sex-related.

The main concern is whether the state will continue to fund the program beyond the current fiscal year.

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