SACRAMENTO, CA - More and more paroled sex offenders are dropping off the state's radar. And, all of it is being linked with California's experiment known as prison realignment.
Now, there's a growing chorus of calls to reform realignment.
AB 109 was the legislature's answer to federal court orders to reduce prison overcrowding - transfer low level, non-violent inmates into county custody.
But, then county jails had to make room, so they released the low level offenders back to the streets.
Now, Republican lawmakers in Sacramento say they want to fix the 'flaws' in the governor's prison realignment plan.
A recent study found an alarming number of paroled sex offenders dropping off the radar since realignment took effect in 2011.
"There could be as many 3,500 people taking their GPS ankle bracelets off. And, meanwhile the sex crimes are going up like 30 percent," said Senator Jean Fuller, (R) Bakersfield.
In Bakersfield, homicides in February were up 89 percent from two years ago. Rapes are up 44 percent.
Other cities are seeing the same trends and lawmakers lay the blame primarily at prison realignment.
"Republicans and a growing number of Democrats agree that targeted reforms are needed. Republicans recognize that we must close the worst realignment loopholes. Today, we are introducing a package of reforms that will fix the serious flaws that are putting people at risk," said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, Tulare.
One bill would send sex offenders who violate parole back to prison.
Another would increase penalties for those who disable their GPS tracking devices.
And, a third would provide additional funding for law enforcement and mental health and substance addiction treatment services at the county level to deal with the new wave of inmates and parolees.
"Realignment is causing very real problems that need very real solutions. We cannot allow our communities to constantly live in fear of criminals that are being released early onto the streets," said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, (R) Lake Elsinore.
Options for funding the bills include diverting state public safety funds to the county level and trimming from other areas of the state budget.