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Alternatives to Incarceration in California

By Ryken Grattet, Brandon Martin

Three-plus years after implementing a major realignment of its public safety systems, California continues to face pressure to reduce both its prison and jail populations. California relied on some alternatives to custody-based punishment before realignment but it has been expanding its use of others. Current research on the effects of incarceration and its alternatives offers a general endorsement of the idea that increasing reliance on community-based alternatives is not likely to result in large increases in crime and recidivism. The evidence suggests that the effectiveness of both incarceration and community-based supervision depends on a number of factors, including the rate of incarceration in a given community, the offender characteristics, and the nature of the response to violations during and after supervision. Finally, intensive data collection on county implementation efforts can help the state identify the community-based strategies that produce the best outcomes.

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Will Proposition 47 Save Money?

By Sonya Tafoya, Magnus Lofstrom

Proposition 47 may result in substantial savings because fewer inmates will be housed in county jails. But a closer look suggests expectations may be too optimistic.

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Recidivism and Realignment

By David Lesher

Research fellow Ryken Grattet spoke at a Sacramento briefing about PPIC’s latest research, which looked at recidivism rates for released offenders now being supervised by county probation departments.

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Realignment: Progress and Challenges

By Magnus Lofstrom

Now that realignment is approaching the three-year mark, has the reform delivered? In some important ways, yes, it has. But a fundamental issue remains.

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Evaluating Corrections Reforms

By Joseph Hayes, Sonya Tafoya

Three years into public safety realignment, we know little about which programs and services are most effective at reducing recidivism. This is not the first time California has made a major corrections policy change without the tools to evaluate it.


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.


Corrections Realignment in California

About the Program
California has made historic changes to its public safety system by moving key responsibilities from the state to the counties. This change has dramatically reduced the state's prison population, put new stress on county jails and probation departments, and raised public safety concerns. PPIC research fellow Magnus Lofstrom will provide an overview of realignment to date, and a panel of corrections leaders will discuss challenges and opportunities for state and local officials.


Corrections Realignment: One Year Later

By Dean Misczynski

In 2011, California began a vast effort to change its corrections system. Key responsibilities have shifted from the state to the counties, including the incarceration of low-level felons and supervision of released prisoners. How have these changes affected California so far? This report examines a range of issues, from capacity pressures to probation arrangements to crime rates.

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