California corrections report: Counties that prioritize reentry have better recidivism outcomes

A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California has found that recidivism outcomes are better for offenders in the Post-Release Community Supervision population in counties that emphasize reentry services over traditional enforcement.

The PRCS population is defined by the study as a segment of the released prisoner population with current sentences that are neither violent nor serious.

The report—titled, “Do Local Realignment Policies Affect Recidivism in California?”—examined whether California’s Public Safety Realignment reduced recidivism amongst the PRCS population and what implementation policies implemented across counties were more effective at reducing recidivism.

Realignment, a.k.a. AB 109, shifted the responsibility of thousands of lower-level felons from state prisons and the parole system to county jails and probation systems following a Supreme Court order that California reduce its prison population. This legislative change in California was one of the most significant correctional changes nationwide in decades, with tens of thousands of state prisoners being returned to local management.

The PPIC report found that the post-realignment period has not seen any dramatic changes in re-arrests or re-convictions among the PRCS population. At the same time, the report found that recidivism increased for PRCS offenders released to counties with implementation policies that prioritized enforcement in comparison to counties that prioritized reentry services.

Researchers found that the felony re-arrest rate for PRCS offenders released to counties that prioritize enforcement was 3.7 percentage points greater than for offenders released to reentry-focused counties. Following a similar pattern, the felony re-conviction rate was 1.7 percentage points greater for offenders released to enforcement-focused counties. Researchers found similar results when misdemeanors and supervision violations were taken into account.

The data led the report’s authors to conclude that shifting more resources to reentry in California counties could create conditions for reducing recidivism rates among PRCS offenders.

To read the full report, click here.

GEO Reentry Services and its sister company, BI Incorporated, work with almost 20 correctional agencies in California to provide evidence-based reentry programming designed to change criminal behavior and not simply punish criminal behavior and electronic monitoring products and services.

GEO Reentry’s day reporting centers place an emphasis on personal accountability while positively reinforcing the successes of our participants. At the centers, participants undergo behavioral therapy, substance abuse treatment, if needed, and classes that teach the necessary life skills for becoming productive members of their communities.

To learn more about our approach, click here.