CSAC Bulletin Article

Reports Highlight State of Criminal, Juvenile Justice in California

January 9, 2020

Three recently-released reports highlight various aspects of Criminal Justice in California. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released California’s Future: Criminal Justice highlighting the decline of incarcerated population since 2006. The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board released its annual Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA) report analyzing the 1.8 million stops conducted by California’s eight largest law enforcement agencies during the second half of 2018. And, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice has released a fact sheet that finds “California’s arrest rate falls to record low in justice reform era (2011 -2018).

 

PPIC Releases California’s Future: Criminal Justice Publication

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) recently released the publication, California’s Future: Criminal Justice.  According to the publication, California has reversed a decades-long upward trend in its state prison population, which has fallen by about 48,000 inmates (or 28%) from its 2006 peak. The state has also begun moving its criminal justice system away from incarceration. Since California implemented Public Safety Realignment—the first of several recent reforms—in 2011, statewide violent and property crime rates have remained close to historic lows. However, California’s rearrest and reconviction rates— and its corrections budget—remain the highest in the nation. Additionally, the report suggests identifying and implementing cost-effective rehabilitative programming and services for offenders who are incarcerated, as well as those who have returned to their communities, should remain a high priority at the state and county levels. The publication further states that California continue to address concerns about inequities in its criminal justice system. Recently policymakers have enacted laws that require data collection on arrests, establish statewide standards for police use of force, and replace cash bail with a new pretrial release system. This publication is part of a PPIC briefing kit that highlights the state’s most pressing long-term policy challenges in 11 key areas: climate change, criminal justice, economy, health care, higher education, housing, K–12 education, political landscape, population, safety net and water.

 

California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board Releases Third Annual RIPA Report

The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (Board) recently released their third annual report required under the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA). RIPA requires California law enforcement agencies to collect and maintain demographic data on all stops and searches. The report contains an analysis of the approximately 1.8 million stops conducted by California’s eight largest law enforcement agencies during the second half of 2018. The report also examines civilian complaint data and provides recommendations law enforcement can utilize to enhance their policies, procedures, and trainings on topics that intersect with bias and racial and identity profiling.

For more information on the first round of RIPA data, please review the new online dashboard available here. The dashboard provides a unique look at the data, collected from July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, and provides access to information on stops and searches conducted by the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and San Francisco Police Department. A copy of the current report is available here. A fact sheet on the 2020 RIPA report is available here. A copy of the supplemental technical report is available here. More information about the Board is available here. The RIPA data online dashboard is available on the California Department of Justice website here.

 

New Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet

The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice has released fact sheet that finds “California’s arrest rate falls to record low in justice reform era (2011 -2018),” says: “The steepest declines in arrests occurred among youth under 18. Since 2010, juvenile arrests have fallen by 75 percent, far outpacing declines among adults.” This publication draws on recently released statistics from the California Department of Justice showing that decades-long declines in arrests have continued into 2018.

  • The overall arrest rate in California has fallen by 26 percent since the start of the justice reform era in 2011. Just one-fifth of this decline is due to reductions in arrests for marijuana following its decriminalization and legalization.
     
  • Most counties (45 out of 58) showed declines in arrest rates during the justice reform era, suggesting that new statewide policies have not interrupted California’s pattern of declining arrests.
     
  • The steepest declines in arrests occurred among youth under 18. Since 2010, juvenile arrests have fallen by 75 percent, far outpacing declines among adults. At the start of the justice reform era, youth and adults were being arrested at roughly similar rates, but by 2018, the youth arrest rate had fallen to just over one-quarter of the adult rate.
     
  • Arrest declines were greatest in regions with lower rates of incarceration. Urban counties had greater declines in both arrest and incarceration compared to rural counties, while coastal counties maintained lower levels of arrest and incarceration than inland counties.

Read the full article and access the fact sheet here.

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