The methodology and findings are reported for research to date that is examining the changes in the local corrections populations across two major reforms in California that sought to reduce the number and types of offenders incarcerated in state prisons while using the cost savings to supervise more offenders in their communities, with an emphasis on rehabilitative services.
California's realignment of its correctional resources was launched under two major reforms: 2011's Public Safety Realignment and 2014's Proposition 47. The survey data compiled in the current study has determined how probation work has changed under this reform realignment, as well as how the realignment has affected recidivism.
The overall conclusion of this study at its current stage is that the targeted reforms have reduced overall incarceration levels and criminal justice contact; however, they have also increased the need for guidance on evidence-based practices at the local level.
The study is currently in the preliminary stages of identifying effective programs, services, and sanction interventions. The strongest conclusion from the study to date is that in the first years under realignment, recidivism outcomes have varied substantially across treatment groups and counties, with some offenders achieving better outcomes under realignment while others have shown diminished outcomes compared to their pre-realignment counterparts.
The current report advises, however, that this analysis of the first 2 years of realignment is insufficient to make policy conclusions, because many counties were unprepared to address the challenges of implementing evidence-based interventions with more serious offender groups.
Current findings show promise that improvements can be made over time. This will be facilitated by evaluations and subsequent replications of what works with offenders who have diverse criminogenic needs.