Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California board teams with non-partisan research group to measure realignments’ effects

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The state board in charge of tracking the effects of California's criminal justice realignment voted Monday to partner with the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California to get the job done.

The two-year old realignment law diverted tens of thousands of criminals from prisons by making certain felony crimes punishable by jail sentences. It also put counties in charge of monitoring lower-level felons coming out of prison — and sanctioning ex-convicts who violate parole.

But state lawmakers enacted the change without much of a plan for measuring the outcome.

They made the Board of State and Community Corrections responsible for tracking and sharing realignment data with the public. But the board lacks authority to get counties to record or report that data in any particular way.

Now they have joined with the PPIC to develop a voluntary system for tracking felons in 10 counties. The goal is to figure out what practices reduce crime the most and cost counties the least. The pilot program will also collect data from state prison officials and the state department of justice. 

Officials in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties have expressed an interest in participating. The project is expected to be up and running by next year.

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