Study Finds Realignment Not Tied to Crime Trends
Research: Shift of Low-Level Offenders Not Threatening Community Safety
A new study issued by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) found no correlation between public-safety realignment and crime trends in California in 2012.
According to the research brief:
“Some critics of the policy (realignment) charge that this new responsibility for counties may be leading to an increase in violent and property crime rates, which have risen since Realignment’s implementation. However, CJCJ’s analysis finds no connection between Realignment and these crime trends.”
Realignment shifted responsibility for more than 40,000 low-level offenders from state to county supervision and represents a major change in corrections and criminal justice policy.
Crimes rates in California have been dropping steadily for decades and remain among the lowest levels in 30 years. However, according to the report, 2012 did see the first up-tick in certain types of crime in some geographic areas. The increase is not statewide and in some areas the crime rates have actually continued to fall.
There have been anecdotal claims that realignment is at fault for the rise in crime rates where they have occurred, but the independent CJCJ study finds no evidence to suggest a relationship between realignment and local changes in crime rates.
“California is under federal court orders to reduce the prison population and counties have a role to play in that process,” said Matt Cate, Executive Director of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). “We continue to work with a variety of realignment stakeholders to make sure we get the best outcomes possible and we are optimistic and hopeful that future trends will continue to show no correlation between realignment and crime rates.”