Post-prison arrests down according to new study

A new study by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation suggests that one-year arrest rates are down and conviction rates are virtually static for offenders released after completing their state prison sentences post-California Public Safety Realignment legislation.

Key findings of the study 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 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)

California’s Public Safety Realignment, a.k.a. AB 109, went into effect in Oct. 2011 as a solution to a federal court order that California reduce prison overcrowding. Under the legislation, lower-level felony offenders are sentenced to county jails or are put under supervision rather than sent to prison, and the county is responsible for supervising them.

Though the terms “jail” and “prison” are often used interchangeably by citizens with outsider knowledge of the justice system, they are distinctly different in function. While jails are run by the county and are mostly filled with accused individuals awaiting trial or convicted offenders sentenced to less than a year, prisons are run by the state or federal government and house convicted offenders charged with more serious crimes.

However, AB 109 is changing these roles, with some county jails taking on offenders whose sentences are 10 years or more, while low-level offenders who might have been sentenced to the county jail are now being sentenced directly to community supervision.

These new shifts in policy make it increasingly important for offenders to be held accountable for staying on track once they are placed under community supervision. GEO Reentry Services works with agencies throughout California to provide successful multi-phase reentry programs designed to change criminal behavior and reduce recidivism. Our programs emphasize personal accountability, providing needed support to offenders to rehabilitate their lives through training, classes and more. Learn more about our approach here.