The ACLU of California recently issued a report, Public Realignment: California at a Crossroads, cautioning that the law may fall short of its hoped-for promise if counties fail to engage in creative, out-of-the box thinking in regards to criminal justice.
The reports tracks how counties are using realignment AB 109 funds and finds that many counties, including Los Angeles, are allocating a sizable chunk simply to building more jails instead of on rehabilitative programs and alternative sentencing structures.
What that means is that realignment might simply end up being part of the same revolving door of failed criminal justice policies we're dealing with now. More jail cells and less change; more avoidance and less safety and security.
In fact, the report makes clear that we could reduce the need for existing jail beds (let alone new ones) if we just let some of the many nonviolent pretrial detainees who fill our county jails go home while they wait for their day in court.
Over 70% of all inmates in county jails have not been convicted of any crime. They are simply being housed because they can't afford to make bail. So long as these inmates do not pose a threat to the community, the most fair and practical approach is to release them on their own recognizance, on reduced bail they can afford, and/or in accordance with a home detention program authorized by realignment AB 109.