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Is Public Safety Realignment Reducing Recidivism in California?

By Steven Raphael, Magnus Lofstrom, Ryken Grattet

Despite sweeping changes to the state’s corrections system, California has not seen dramatic changes in arrests or convictions of released offenders. Overall arrest rates are down. But convictions are up, likely a reflection of new prosecutorial processes. Multiple arrests are also up, possibly because released offenders are now spending more time on the streets.

This research was supported with funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation.


Key Factors in California’s Jail Construction Needs

By Magnus Lofstrom, Brandon Martin

Now that California has shifted responsibility for many criminal offenders to the counties, county jail systems face greater capacity challenges. This report highlights two important factors in addressing jail capacity constraints: aging jail facilities and long-term needs. We show that a number of facilities are old and likely in need of costly updates or replacement and that growth in the state’s population is likely to exert significant pressure on the county jail system. Our analysis suggests that a thoughtful combination of further jail construction and decreased reliance on incarceration is needed, given the magnitude of the current and future jail needs.

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State Leaders: More Data Needed on Rehabilitation Efforts

By David Lesher

The state has recently directed more than $1 billion toward new jail beds at the local level. But state policymakers are also focusing on alternatives to incarceration that will reduce recidivism, deter criminal behavior, and save money.


Capacity Challenges in California’s Jails

By Magnus Lofstrom, Katherine Kramer

In an effort widely known as "realignment,” California has given its counties enormous new responsibilities for corrections—including authority over many new types of felony offenders and parolees. Rather than go to state prison, these offenders now go to county jail or receive an alternative sanction. In the first few months of realignment, California’s jail population increased noticeably—but many jails were already facing capacity concerns. We find that some offenders who would have been incarcerated prior to realignment are now either not locked up or are not spending as much time in jail. Going forward, counties will need to consider a wide variety of approaches for handling their capacity concerns and their expanded offender populations.

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