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Big Policy Shift Leads to Small Change in Recidivism

David Lesher July 2, 2014
photo - prison cells

A recent briefing in Sacramento focused on PPIC’s new report on recidivism rates since public safety realignment policy began. This policy—which took effect in 2011—shifted responsibility for more than 30,000 offenders from the state to the local level.

The report—Is Public Safety Realignment Reducing Recidivism in California?—found a mixed result. Arrest rates overall are down slightly from the period before realignment. But the proportion of offenders who are convicted after arrest is up about 3 percent. The proportion of those arrested multiple times is up noticeably, probably reflecting the increased time released offenders spend on the streets because of county jails’ limited capacity.

The number of released offenders who return to prison was down more than 30 percent. PPIC research fellow Magnus Lofstrom presented the findings. He was joined on the dais by his two co-authors—PPIC research fellow Ryken Grattet and UC Berkeley policy professor Steven Raphael—for audience questions.

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