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Gov. Brown visits jail to talk about Realignment reform
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Sheriff Adam Christianson discusses AB 109 prison realignment with Governor Brown outside of Unit 2 of the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center in Ceres. The governor met with county officials to discuss the challenges of realignment and local programs the county is implementing. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Governor Jerry Brown visited Ceres on Monday afternoon to conduct several meetings on the impacts of AB 109 Realignment with county leaders.

The meetings were the opportunity to highlight the many ways that Stanislaus County has responded to the Realignment program and to also discuss challenges still facing the county.

Attendees included Supervisors Vito Chiesa and Terry Withrow, Sheriff Adam Christianson, District Attorney Birgit Fladager, Chief Probation Officer Jill Silva, and judges Loretta Murphy Begen and Scott Steffen.

"We were proud to host the governor in Stanislaus County and to show him that we are taking productive steps in the implementation of Realignment," stated Sheriff Christianson. "We were all impressed by not just the amount of time he spent with us, but his serious consideration of our discussion."

Supervisor Vito Chiesa attended the pblic safety Realignment meeting with Brown.

"The governor heard our message and was very engaged, candid and showed great concern for our challenges," Chiesa said. "But, we also shared there is a long way to go as Stanislaus County and a number of valley counties struggle with lack of adequate funding for implementation of Realignment.

The Governor understood the Valley is not getting its fair share of Realignment funding and discussed the funding formula and additional funding sources. He also expressed support for finding creative ways to provide needed programs.

Brown stopped in Stanislaus County in the early afternoon time and toured three different facilities and conducted several meetings. Earlier in the day he attended the funeral in Fresno for two California Highway Patrol officers killed last week in a crash on Highway 99.

The governor first visited the District Attorney's Office in Modesto where Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager led a roundtable discussion of elected county officials and public safety leaders who discussed Realignment details. The governor then travelled to Ceres to visit the new 16-bed Stanislaus County Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) that will be used for short-term inpatient psychiatric care for County residents. Sheriff Christianson then led the governor on a tour of Unit 2 of the Public Safety Center.

At the Public Safety Center, the governor saw first-hand how programs such as the Sheriff's Custody and Community Institute of Life Skills (SCCLILS) were designed to help break cycles of addiction and to help men and women develop better decision making and coping skills. The governor even asked for an impromptu meeting with the nearly 20 inmates who were in the middle of a Life Skills class and spoke with them about why they were incarcerated. The governor asked the group by a show of hands how many of them had a drug or alcohol problem that led to their incarceration, and all but one-hand in the room was raised.