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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.

event

Women in California’s Legislature

This year’s legislative class includes the largest number of women in state history. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we invite you to join PPIC’s president and CEO Tani Cantil-Sakauye and a panel of women leaders from California’s legislature as they share their experiences and discuss the dynamics of diversity in setting better policy for the state.

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.

Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Arrests in California

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

California’s criminal justice system was affected by shelter-in-place orders and other public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 also played a role.

blog post

How a New Way of Counting Prisoners Has Changed Redistricting

By Jennifer Paluch, Eric McGhee, Heather Harris

For the purposes of drawing state legislative and congressional districts, California now counts state prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than as residents of prisons. Though the effects are small, communities with large numbers of residents who have been sent to prison now do not lose representation to the few communities in which the prisons are located.

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.

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