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State Attempts to Track Effect of Realignment

Jul 23, 2013

A state board agreed this week to partner with the Public Policy Institute of California to examine the effects of a change to the state’s criminal justice policy called realignment.

California’s two-year old law downgraded certain crimes to jail-only offenses, diverting tens of thousands of lower-level felons from serving time in state prisons. It also put counties in charge of supervising lower level felons once they’re released from prison and parole violators.

But as KPCC’s Julie Small reports there’s no uniform way to track how counties are doing.

The Board of State and Community Corrections is responsible for tracking and sharing realignment data. Problem is counties don’t track the same data in the same way, and some cant’ afford to track much.  Right now, there’s really no way to measure the effects of realignment.  That’s where the Public Policy Institute of California comes in.  Researcher Ryken Grattet says his team will develop a pilot system to make it easier to track felons in ten counties.

"We’re hoping to take a strong first step in making some things visible that kind of aren’t visible at the moment and help counties identify some practices and interventions that work," says Garrett.

The goal, he says, is to use the statistics they gather to find the cheapest, most effective strategies to reduce crime.

The data project is expected to be up and running next year.