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A Large Proportion of Crime Goes Unsolved in California

By Magnus Lofstrom

California’s clearance rates—the shares of reported crimes for which police make an arrest and refer the arrestee to prosecution—are better than those nationwide. Still, statewide less than half of violent crimes and only one in ten property crimes are cleared.

event

Pandemic Policymaking and Changed Outcomes in Criminal Courts

California’s criminal courts quickly adopted policies to address COVID-19; but uneven adoption around the state affected who might face those policies. On April 18, PPIC researcher Heather Harris will present findings from a report examining how policies such as remote hearings contributed to differences in criminal convictions and sentencing, and discuss how these outcomes may influence whether such hearings will continue.

Report

Pandemic Policymaking and Changed Outcomes in Criminal Courts

By Heather Harris

California’s criminal courts quickly adopted policies to address COVID-19. But uneven adoption around the state affected who might face those policies—as well as whether people were convicted and the sentences handed out. In particular, remote hearings contributed to racial differences in outcomes, which may influence whether such hearings continue.

Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Pandemic Policymaking and Changed Outcomes in Criminal Courts

By Heather Harris, Stephanie Barton

Remote hearings are the major policy to endure from pandemic interventions introduced by California criminal courts. When remote hearings were in place, misdemeanor convictions fell—and courts tended to hand out probation or fines for these crimes, especially among white, Latino, and Black defendants.

blog post

California’s Leading Role in Providing Criminal Defense to the Poor

By Heather Harris

This week is the 60th anniversary of a landmark US Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to legal representation for defendants in state criminal courts, regardless of their ability to pay. We look at California’s approach to indigent defense and how it has changed over time.

blog post

Human Trafficking in California

By Heather Harris

California accounts for a declining share of the human trafficking incidents that occur nationally. But detecting human trafficking is challenging, and understanding the scope of trafficking is critical to combatting this kind of exploitation.

Report

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Arrests in California

By Deepak Premkumar, Thomas Sloan, Magnus Lofstrom, Joseph Hayes

At the onset of COVID-19, California’s criminal justice system was affected by shelter-in-place orders and other public health measures, along with law enforcement directives intended to minimize exposure to the virus. We found that pandemic arrest trends mirror mobility patterns, particularly early on. But other factors, such as a shift in policing strategies, also played a role.

Report

Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops

By Magnus Lofstrom, Joseph Hayes, Brandon Martin, Deepak Premkumar

Traffic stops have emerged as a key driver of racial disparities in law enforcement and an area of potential reform. Our new report examines whether certain types of traffic stops could be enforced in alternative ways that reduce racial disparities and risks to officers and civilians without jeopardizing public safety.

Report

Understanding the Effects of School Funding

By Julien Lafortune

Funding for California’s K–12 public schools has reached record highs, but gaps in student outcomes remain. Understanding the benefits of additional funds, and how to distribute those funds, are key concerns for policymakers. This report offers insights from a robust body of research on the extent to which higher spending improves outcomes.

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