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Racial Disparities in California Law Enforcement Stops

By Magnus Lofstrom, Alexandria Gumbs, Brandon Martin

According to the latest data for California’s largest law enforcement agencies, the reasons for officer stops vary by agency type and across racial groups.

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How Much Do California Cities Spend on Policing?

By Brandon Martin, Alexandria Gumbs

On a per resident basis, cities’ spending on policing ranges from less than $100 to several thousand dollars, with the vast majority spending between $150 and $450.

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What COVID-19 Budget Cuts Mean for Public Safety Spending

By Brandon Martin, Magnus Lofstrom

The sharp decline in state revenues means county sheriff and probation departments will have less funding to provide supervision and programming for certain individuals who are in jail or on probation.

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Grants Awarded to Combat Recidivism

By Brandon Martin

Under Proposition 47, savings from a decrease in the prison population must go toward services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment. The first grants were just awarded.

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Video: Assessing Corrections Reforms

By Linda Strean

California’s historic corrections reforms have succeeded in important ways, but major challenges remain. A panel of state and local experts discussed them.


California’s Historic Corrections Reforms

About the Program
Overcrowding and poor conditions in California's prisons triggered sweeping changes to the state's correctional system. Has the prioritization of correctional resources toward more serious offenders eased overcrowding and contained costs? How are county jails coping, and have reoffending rates declined? Has crime increased, as critics predicted? PPIC researcher Magnus Lofstrom will outline findings from a new report, and a panel of state and local experts will discuss the effects of recent reforms on crime, costs, and incarceration.

Please register in advance. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited. Lunch will be provided.

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Video: Rating Realignment

By Linda Strean

Local law enforcement and corrections officials have risen to the challenge of California’s public safety realignment, a panel of local and state officials concluded last week. They also concurred that big challenges remain.


What Do We Know about Realignment’s Impact So Far?

About the Program
The fourth anniversary of California’s historic public safety realignment offers an opportunity to assess its major impacts. Has the shift of responsibility for lower-level felons from the state to counties eased prison overcrowding and contained costs? How are county jails coping, and have reoffending rates declined? Has crime increased, as critics predicted? PPIC researcher Magnus Lofstrom will outline the findings of a new report and a panel of state and local experts will discuss realignment’s effect on crime, costs, and incarceration.


Public Safety Realignment: Impacts So Far

By Magnus Lofstrom, Brandon Martin

Prompted by a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding, California’s 2011 historic public safety realignment shifted many correctional responsibilities for lower-level felons from the state to counties. The reform was premised on the idea that locals can do a better job, and it was hoped that incarceration rates and corrections costs would fall. At the same time, critics predicted crime would rise. Four years since its implementation, realignment has made several important impacts:

  • Realignment significantly reduced the prison population, but the state did not reach the court-mandated population target until after the passage of Proposition 47 in November 2014, which reduced penalties for many property and drug offenses.
  • The reform challenged county jails and probation departments by making them responsible for a greater number of offenders with a broader range of backgrounds and needs.
  • The county jail population did not rise nearly as much as the prison population fell, reducing the total number of people incarcerated in California.
  • Realignment did not increase violent crime, but auto thefts rose.
  • Research so far shows no dramatic change in recidivism rates.
  • State corrections spending remains high, but there is reason to believe expenditures could drop in the future.

Realignment has largely been successful, but the state and county correctional systems face significant challenges. The state needs to regain control of prison medical care, which is now in the hands of a federal receiver. And the state and counties together must make progress in reducing stubbornly high recidivism rates.

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