Recounting what she called a “pretty horrifying” chat, county Supervisor Dianne Jacob says a loophole in state law allows convicted felons to be released to skilled nursing facilities without notice given the District Attorney’s Office.
One felon ended up exposing himself to other patients, she told a La Mesa Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday.
“There is one thing I worry about the most, and that’s public safety,” she said in discussing AB 109, the state law passed in 2011 that reduces overcrowding in the prison system by shifting low-level inmates in state prisons to county jails.
The realignment shifted more than 2,000 inmates into San Diego County alone.
The horrifying conversation, she said, was with a deputy district attorney about a former inmate who was realigned, released and classified as a “medical parolee”—someone let out of County Jail because he or she is too ill or medically incapacitated to pose a threat to public safety.
Jacob said the man was released into a skilled nursing facility in El Cajon.
“The state has determined that it’s cheaper to put some people in skilled nursing facilities, which is true,” she said. “On the surface, for the taxpayers, it seems like a good deal.
“If you have these people who are classified as medical parolees, you have to keep in mind, these are convicted criminals, and they’ve done really bad things.”
Jacob, continuing to recount the recent chat, said the deputy DA told her that there was no notification that the man was being sent to the facility.
“He was not medically incapacitated—as he was mobile, was able to undress, expose himself to others and fondle himself in front of other people in the skilled nursing facility,” she said.
She said the biggest problem with the law is the lack of notification.
“The district attorney wasn’t notified,” Jacob said. “The people in the skilled nursing facility weren’t notified; employees and families of people in the facility weren’t notified.
“The DA never received any notice that this individual was coming to our county. We’ve initiated action to change that.”
Jacob, who was sworn in for her board record-tying sixth term in January, spoke for about 30 minutes on a variety of topics—from the state of the national economy to using energy-efficient solar panels on home and the county’s economic success in building almost 70 projects and carrying no debt.
A former schoolteacher and Helix High School graduate, Jacob has held elective office longer than any other woman in San Diego County government history.
She spoke passionately about countless projects that have served the youth of La Mesa, and the rest of East County’s District 2, including building playgrounds and ball fields using neighborhood reinvestment funds.
“I’ve heard criticism of my other colleagues how they have recommended expenditures of those funds,” she told an audience of 30.
“I’ve made it a policy to put that money into building the best recreational facilities that we possibly can have for our kids. I have a passion to make sure our kids get out there, get exercise in a sport. They are learning life skills, and they are staying out of trouble too.”
Jacob also spoke of the three-acre parcel of land recently sold to the city of La Mesa by the county.
“La Mesa had been trying to buy it for a long time,” she said. “It took 17 years to clean it up and get it appraised for park use.”