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It's been a little more than 36 months since the controversial California inmate realignment took place; since that time, certain sentenced inmates are serving their time at county lock ups instead of state prisons.

The shift was in response to a flurry of lawsuits relating to poor conditions, abysmal medical care and widespread overcrowding.  Eventually, the Supreme Court intervened and ordered the state to reduce its prisoner population to no more than 137.5 percent of rated capacity.

California had two options-  let a bunch of people off early, or find a way to pass the buck.  That's where the realignment came into play.

It also trickled down to county jail operations, mandating that inmates who were convicted of non-violent offenses be let out after they served 50 percent of their time. They would, of course, also need to maintain good behavior during their stay.

Law enforcement agencies are now admitting that the mandate, also known as AB 109, may have changed the face of policing forever.

Sheriff's departments in Southern California have said that in the past three years they have seen a spike in theft, property crime and the number of people who are being arrested.  Many describe the situation as being frustrating- at best.

AB109 may have helped cut down on the number of people in state prisons, they said, but it's led to major overcrowding issues at the local level.  Many facilities are still struggling to find ways to do more with less, and say the legislation has them nearly bursting at the seams.

It's also forced counties to start releasing low-level, local offenders before their sentences are up.  San Bernardino County jails estimate upward of 12,000 detainees have been released to the probation department.

Most of those men and women had been convicted of things like property crimes.

Law enforcement officials say it's become a vicious cycle of letting people go, them committing new crimes and the once again getting carted back to jail.  The "slap on the wrist" sentences seems to have caused a revolving-door effect at detention centers within that county.

FBI reports have confirmed there has been a surge in burglaries and property crimes since AB109 took hold; the number of auto thefts, for example, have just about doubled.

And now, with the passage of Prop. 47, deputies feel as if, while at one point, they would arrest a lawbreaker and that person would need to serve some time, today they're getting off with a citation for having committed a misdemeanor.

Re-arrest rates are through the roof, they said, and all recent legislation considered, it's quickly becoming the new-normal.

Read the full story here:  Prison realignment changing law enforcement