Sacramento, Calif. – One-year arrest rates are down and conviction rates are virtually static for offenders released after completing their state prison sentences post-Realignment, according to a report released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
“The results here are very encouraging, especially when you consider they reflect the very beginning of Realignment, when counties were in the early stages of implementing rehabilitative programs.” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. “As we move forward and both CDCR and the counties utilize state funds to invest more in rehabilitation efforts, I’m confident we will see fewer former inmates re-offending.”
For this Realignment Report, CDCR indentified all offenders who had served their full sentence and were released from prison during the first year after the implementation of Realignment (October 2011 through September 2012). Researchers then tracked the offenders, which include those released to state parole supervision and those released to county probation supervision, for one year to see if they were re-arrested, convicted of a new crime, or returned to state prison. CDCR then compared those results with all offenders released during October 2010 to September 2011 (pre-Realignment) and tracked them for one year in the same manner.
Key findings include:
- Post-Realignment offenders were arrested at a lower rate than pre-Realignment offenders (58.9 percent pre-Realignment and 56.2 percent post-Realignment).
- The rate of post-Realignment offenders convicted of new crimes is nearly the same as the rate of pre-Realignment offenders convicted of new crimes (20.9 percent pre-realignment and 21.0 percent post realignment).
- Post-Realignment offenders returned to prison at a significantly lower rate than pre-Realignment offenders, an intended effect of Realignment as most offenders are ineligible to return to prison on a parole violation. (32.4 percent pre-Realignment and 7.4 percent post-Realignment)
Under California’s Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 (AB 109), no offenders receive an early release from state prison. The law, which was passed by the Legislature in response to a federal court order to reduce California’s prison population, has achieved dramatic reductions by stemming the flow of low-level inmates and parole violators into prison. The intent of Realignment is to encourage counties to develop and implement evidenced-based practices and alternatives to incarceration to limit future crimes and reduce victimization.
Prior to Realignment, more than 60,000 felon parole violators returned to state prison annually, with an average length of stay of 90 days. Beginning on October 1, 2011, most parole violations are now served in county jails. Also, offenders newly convicted of certain low-level offenses serve their time in county jail. Under another component of Realignment, inmates who have served their full state prison sentence for a non-serious, non-violent or non-sexual offense are now supervised upon their release by county probation rather than state parole.
Realignment provides a dedicated, constitutionally protected, and permanent revenue stream to the counties.