A brand new report from the Heart on Juvenile and Felony Justice (CJCJ) presents some data on the impacts of Proposition 47 (Prop 47), calling it a “lifeline to California communities.” The report’s foremost conclusions are that Prop 47 is successful as a result of it diminished jail prices with out negatively impacting recidivism. The writer contends that recidivism charges, homelessness, and unemployment all decreased after collaborating in Prop 47 packages, citing some information to assist this conclusion. However a deeper dive into the supply of those numbers proves fairly skeptical, and whether or not or not these packages are literally efficient stays unclear.
Additional, the report additionally claims that Prop 47 has coincided with a interval of record-low crime in California. Sadly, this assertion is incredibly misleading. Whereas total crime charges could be down, that is largely pushed by decreases in property crime, whereas some violent crimes (like homicide) have been significantly excessive in recent times.
By means of its reclassification of a number of low-level drug and property offenses, Prop 47 has diminished the state’s jail prices by $600 million. Per the report, $400 million of this was re-allocated to community-based packages that “handle the foundation causes of crime and violence,” and the remaining $200 million was re-allocated to trauma restoration and school-based packages. The writer of the report purports that these packages cut back recidivism, strengthen communities, and interrupt cycles of hurt.
Prop 47 funds are distributed to grantees by the California Board of State and Neighborhood Corrections (BSCC) throughout overlapping four-year grant cycles. A complete of 33 public businesses (e.g. behavioral well being departments, faculty districts, and many others.) acquired Prop 47 funding via Cohorts 1 and a couple of. By February 2022, the primary cohort of grantees had accomplished their packages and offered ultimate analysis information on recidivism charges. The second cohort is midway via its grant cycle and launched preliminary analysis information on housing and employment successes. Utilizing this information, CJCJ examined impacts on homelessness, unemployment, and recidivism.
Homelessness and Unemployment
First, let’s take a look at homelessness outcomes. These outcomes are primarily based on Cohort 2 individuals solely, as Cohort 1 didn’t report on these outcomes. In accordance with the report, most Cohort 2 individuals have been unhoused once they enrolled in a Prop 47 program, however a “substantial share” had discovered housing by program completion. They declare that “homelessness fell by greater than half, from 28% to 11%” and that “the share residing independently almost doubled, from 11% to 21%.” Nevertheless, as talked about in a discreet, carefully-worded footnote, these numbers replicate solely 364 folks–those that cited housing was a objective. This represents a small proportion of complete Prop 47 individuals (n=4,000+). However what about all of the others who have been enrolled in Prop 47 packages however didn’t search housing help? The report says nothing about them or how they fared in the long term. That is problematic as a result of those that actively sought housing companies could be very completely different than those that didn’t, and it’s fairly attainable that their success needed to do with different elements (e.g., motivation) reasonably than Prop 47 itself.
Based mostly on the chances given, we will calculate the quantity of people that have been homeless at the start versus the midpoint of this system. Of the 364 individuals who needed housing, roughly 102 have been homeless at the start of this system. 62 of those folks discovered housing throughout their first two years in this system, whereas 40 remained homeless. Roughly 40 have been residing independently at the start of this system, which elevated to 76 folks by the two-year mark. In my view, the “nice reductions in homelessness” might be higher summarized as: Prop 47 helped 62 folks discover housing and helped 36 folks stay independently. Nothing is talked about in regards to the outcomes of the complete cohort, and it’s unclear what number of people launched on the premise of Prop 47 didn’t need assist and weren’t seeking to discover housing.
Equally, the report exhibits that the majority Cohort 2 individuals have been unemployed once they enrolled in a Prop 47 program, however a “substantial share” had discovered a job by program completion. In accordance with the report, unemployment charges fell by one-third (64% to 42%) and charges of full-time employment greater than doubled (17% to 39%). Once more although, this key discovering is predicated on solely a subset of individuals who needed to seek out employment (n=628), which is a small proportion of the bigger variety of folks affected by Prop 47 (n=4,000+). Thus, one has to surprise what occurred to individuals who have been eligible for packages beneath Prop 47, however didn’t need to work or make the most of employment companies. Once more, we don’t find out about how the latter fared in the long term, which is problematic as a result of people who actively search employment are most likely qualitatively completely different than those that don’t. Which means impacts on employment could not have been as a result of Prop 47 itself, however could be as a result of different elements (e.g., motivation).
Based mostly on the chances given, we will calculate the quantity of people that have been unemployed at the start versus the midpoint of this system. Of the 628 individuals who sought employment, 402 have been unemployed at the start of this system. By the two-year mark, this had decreased to 264. In my view, the “giant reductions in unemployment charges” might be higher summarized as: Prop 47 have helped 138 folks of the 4,000+ served discover employment. Once more, there’s nothing else talked about in regards to the the rest of the cohort, i.e., those that acquired Prop 47 companies however didn’t care to seek out employment. Thus, it appears crude to say that Prop 47 led to main decreases in unemployment, when employment outcomes have been solely examined for a small portion of Prop 47 offenders.
In the case of housing and employment outcomes, the CJCJ report solely examined 364 and 628 folks, respectively. This pattern appears shockingly small once you take a look at the whole quantity of people that obtain Prop 47 companies. In case you look here you will note that, across the program midpoint, Cohort 2 served 4,847 folks in only one quarter (Quarter 8). In distinction, when the CJCJ report seems at folks throughout the primary eight quarters mixed, their pattern measurement continues to be nowhere close to the dimensions of the bigger Prop 47-eligible inhabitants. For that purpose, it’s unattainable to say whether or not the pattern of individuals examined right here is consultant of the complete pattern of people that acquired Prop 47 companies. So, when the writer boasts about enormous reductions in unemployment and homelessness, one has to surprise what the outcomes are for the remaining 4,000+ folks that obtain some sort of Prop 47 companies.
Regardless of how convincing the CJCJ report numbers could appear, the truth is that the variety of folks truly impacted appears very small in comparison with the bigger variety of folks receiving Prop 47 companies total.
In the case of recidivism outcomes, the CJCJ report depends on Cohort 1, as Cohort 2 has not but reported on these outcomes. The writer claims that “12 out of 13” grantees confirmed reductions in recidivism. This assertion is deceptive for just a few causes. First, a more in-depth look reveals that there have been actually 23 grantees in Cohort 1, not 13. Nevertheless, solely 13 offered adequate information that allowed for comparisons between program individuals and a “related group who weren’t in this system.” However wanting on the information extra carefully exhibits that a lot of the “comparability teams” weren’t true comparability teams. Because of this alone, most of the findings are invalid.
Regardless of the writer’s declare that each one of those grantees offered conviction information on a “related comparability group,” that is merely not true. 5 of the grantees (i.e., El Rancho Faculty District, LA County Division of Well being and Human Companies, Plumas County, San Diego County, and San Joaquin County) offered no actual comparability group, and easily in contrast their individuals’ recidivism charges with extra normal recidivism charges of the county or state. Two grantees (i.e., Corning and San Francisco) relied on a pre-post design with out a comparability group, and in contrast post-program legal exercise with pre-program legal exercise of the identical folks. 4 grantees (i.e., LA Metropolis Lawyer’s Workplace, Marin County Well being and Human Companies, Merced County Probation, and San Bernardino) used precise comparability teams, however didn’t guarantee equivalence between teams. Additional, the research from San Bernardino additionally in contrast completely different outcomes to one another, which was an extra flaw. Two grantees (i.e., Pasadena and Orange County) fashioned respectable comparability teams that have been statistically equal to one another, however the research in Pasadena additionally had incomparable outcomes from one group to the opposite, rendering it invalid as effectively.
After reviewing the analysis reviews for all the 13 grantees, just one was extremely rigorous (Orange County), and truly had an honest comparability group with legitimate outcomes that can be utilized to generate conclusions about this system’s influence. Following Orange County, there have been three research that met the minimal threshold of getting an precise comparability group and a comparable final result, and in these instances, the comparability group was nonetheless lower than best (LA Metropolis Lawyer’s Workplace, Marin County Well being and Human Companies, and Merced County Probation). Let’s undergo the recidivism findings for every grantee which can be proven on Determine 7 of the CJCJ report.
Project RESTORE in Corning was meant to assist juveniles within the legal justice system who’ve psychological well being or substance abuse points. This system appeared to scale back recidivism charges, primarily based on a pre-post design that examined adjustments in legal habits over time. After this system, 5% of youth recidivated, in comparison with pre-program charges of 25%. However sadly, this research didn’t truly make the most of a real comparability group, and it solely compares people’ recidivism charges earlier than this system versus after this system. Single group research usually are not robust sufficient to show trigger and impact, as a result of there is no such thing as a group of comparable individuals who didn’t obtain companies. It’s fairly attainable that individuals who participated in this system have been qualitatively completely different than those that didn’t take part, and that their success is pushed by different elements (equivalent to persona sort, social assist) and never essentially the Prop 47 program.
The “Vision 20/20” Reintegration Project (VTRP) within the metropolis of Pasadena sought to handle gaps in psychological well being and substance abuse companies for previously incarcerated people. This system appeared to scale back recidivism — apparently 17% of the remedy group recidivated in contrast with 31% of the comparability group. The comparability group on this research was truly good and the 2 teams appeared similar to one another by way of demographics and different elements. Sadly, this research tousled on the result, and used completely different recidivism measures for every group. The 31% recidivism charge within the comparability group mirrored arrests, convictions, and parole/probation violations, whereas the 17% recidivism charge within the remedy group recidivism mirrored solely new felony or misdemeanor convictions. The previous casts a a lot wider web, so it isn’t shocking that the latter seems to be a “discount.” Regardless, the 2 final result measures aren’t comparable, rendering the findings invalid.
The El Rancho Unified School District utilized grant funds to implement a collaborative effort to scale back juvenile recidivism and delinquency. Solely 7% of program individuals recidivated in contrast with the “typical” juvenile recidivism charge of fifty%. However the report doesn’t use an actual comparability group. Fairly, they evaluate their juvenile individuals’ recidivism charges with the standard recidivism charge for juveniles. It’s unclear whether or not the juveniles examined on this research are literally consultant of the broader universe of juvenile offenders, so comparisons to the “typical recidivism charge” don’t imply a lot. This methodology was inadequate to find out trigger and impact, and it’s unclear whether or not any impacts have been truly associated to this system.
The Los Angeles Diversion, Outreach, and Opportunities for Recovery (LA DOOR) program meant to supply complete, health-focused companies for folks at elevated threat of recidivating as a result of substance use, psychological sickness, or homelessness. The research carried out by the LA Metropolis Lawyer’s Workplace was one of many higher research, and truly used a real comparability group. It confirmed that 15% of program individuals recidivated in contrast with 25% of these within the comparability group, however this discovering was not statistically vital. Whereas the comparability group was principally much like the remedy group, the 2 weren’t totally comparable. Most notably, the remedy group had increased numbers of prior convictions and warrants. Due to the baseline distinction in prior legal exercise, it’s attainable that the comparability group didn’t see as giant of a discount in recidivism just because their baseline legal exercise was already considerably decrease.
The Reentry Intensive Case Management Services (RICMS) program in LA County delivered case administration and navigation companies to individuals who had been arrested, charged, or convicted of against the law and who had psychological well being and substance use points. The research carried out within the LA County Division of Well being Companies noticed re-conviction charges of 23% amongst program individuals, in contrast with the general re-conviction charge in LA County of 36%. As soon as once more, this isn’t a real comparability group. This report principally presents descriptive statistics on program individuals, equivalent to program enrollment numbers, consumer demographics, county healthcare utilization, and reconviction charges. It’s unclear whether or not the folks examined on this research have been truly consultant of the broader universe of offenders in LA County, so comparisons to the “typical” recidivism charge don’t imply a lot. With no legitimate comparability group, it’s arduous to say whether or not reductions in recidivism have been because of the program.
Marin County’s Improving Lives Via Opportunity and Treatment (PIVOT) program was a care coordination program for people with low-level legal prices and behavioral well being issues. The research carried out by Marin County Well being and Human Companies confirmed recidivism charges of 9% for many who accomplished this system, in contrast with 23% of those that didn’t full this system. Fortunately the research did use an precise comparability group, although it isn’t totally corresponding to the remedy group. The entire folks in each teams had enrolled in a Prop 47 program and acquired some companies, however these within the remedy group caught with it whereas these within the comparability group didn’t. It isn’t shocking that those that accomplished this system had higher recidivism outcomes — those that caught with this system could be completely different from those that dropped out (e.g., they could have extra motivation). Thus, it’s arduous to say that reductions in recidivism have been truly because of the program itself, or whether or not they have been as a result of different elements that differed between teams.
The Los Banos Youth and Family Safety HUB in Merced County was designed to stop youth recidivism via a complete private exploration and management growth program. The research carried out by the Merced County Probation Division confirmed recidivism charges of 16% for these within the “HUB” program in contrast with charges of 35% that have been seen within the comparability probation group. The research did make the most of a real comparability group, which was good, although it was not equal to the remedy group. Teams differed by way of recidivism threat elements on the outset, with folks within the HUB reporting increased ranges of gang participation, drug use, and many others. than the bigger probation group. Which means the HUB program and bigger probation group could not equal in threat elements, which can have an effect on program outcomes, so it’s arduous to say whether or not this group is definitely consultant of the bigger probation group. Individuals assigned to the HUB have been assigned on a non-random foundation, so one other risk is that individuals who have been thought to succeed have been hand-picked for this system. Within the absence of randomization, it’s arduous to know whether or not the diminished recidivism is really a results of this system, or if people chosen have been significantly amenable to alter. The entire variety of HUB individuals within the analyses was comparatively small, too (N=19), which limits the generalizability of program findings to different jurisdictions.
In Orange County, Prop 47 funds have been used to assist intensive case administration, linkages to remedy, and group helps for folks within the legal justice system with psychological well being or substance use issues. The research by the Orange County Healthcare Company discovered recidivism charges of 15% for folks in this system, in contrast with 26% of these within the comparability group, a statistically vital discovering. This research design was truly one of many higher ones; it used a real, statistically-equivalent comparability group that was generated utilizing propensity rating matching. Researchers matched a gaggle of people that acquired companies after being launched from jail (the remedy group) with an analogous group who didn’t obtain such companies (the comparability group). The teams have been statistically equal, however there was some attrition (the pattern measurement decreased from 1,124 to 409 from baseline to the two-year follow-up). Fortunately, the authors mitigated the influence of attrition by making use of statistical controls for varied elements. The research discovered that individuals within the remedy group had considerably decrease recidivism charges than their comparability counterparts by about 11%.
The Plumas County District Attorney used their Prop 47 funding to implement pretrial diversion and pretrial launch packages. Each packages offered collaborative companies that have been meant to assist folks handle issues associated to drug/alcohol use, housing, work, and authorized wants. Recidivism charges have been 2% within the pretrial diversion program and 10% within the pretrial launch program. These charges have been in contrast with the general recidivism charge of individuals beneath Pluma County probation, which was 67%. On its face, this seems like an enormous discount in recidivism, however much like the opposite research, the complete universe of probationers isn’t essentially a comparable group. We have no idea whether or not these within the remedy group are much like the broader web of probationers. There might have been one thing in regards to the folks chosen for the remedy that made them extra more likely to succeed reasonably than simply this system itself. For instance, most of the folks within the wider probationer pool additionally met the necessities however didn’t care to enroll, which might recommend that private motivation to succeed performs a job in lowering recidivism charges.
The SAFE-T Net mission supported by the San Bernardino County Division of Public Well being tried to fight recidivism by offering substance abuse and psychological well being companies to previously incarcerated folks. Of the folks referred to this system, 39% accomplished it. Of these finishing this system, the recidivism charge was 15% (measured by arrests). Compared with the county’s total recidivism charge of 58% (per a current jail utilization study taking a look at jail bookings), the SAFE-T program appeared to scale back recidivism. At first this appears promising. Nevertheless, the SAFE-T Web analysis measured recidivism by subsequent arrests whereas the jail utilization research measured recidivism by subsequent jail bookings–two completely different measures of recidivism. The latter catches a wider web, because it simply checked out whether or not somebody re-entered jail, no matter whether or not it was for a brand new crime (it might have even been for a probation violation). Thus, it isn’t shocking that recidivism charges have been bigger for this group. Secondly, it’s unclear whether or not the people referred to this system are consultant of these within the bigger universe of previously incarcerated folks, so it’s arduous to say whether or not it is smart to check the 2. For these causes, the research isn’t best for with the ability to decide trigger and impact.
In San Diego County, there have been two packages, the Neighborhood Based mostly Companies and Recidivism Discount (CoSRR) program and the San Diego Misdemeanants At-Danger Monitor (SMART) program. Sadly, the analysis research didn’t make the most of a comparability group, and as an alternative was a pre-post quasi-experimental design. They measured adjustments in recidivism over time (i.e., three-years prior in contrast with as much as three years following this system) and in contrast folks’s post-program legal exercise with their pre-program legal exercise. One other a part of the report in contrast recidivism outcomes for folks within the CoSRR and the SMART with numbers from a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report that checked out recidivism charges pre- and post-Prop 47 in 12 California counties (as an apart, that report solely discovered a discount in recidivism of three.1 proportion factors following Prop 47 implementation). Within the CoSRR and SMART packages, 57% and 67% of program individuals recidivated (respectively), in contrast with the PPIC’s estimate of 46%. Based mostly on these comparisons, it seems like Prop 47 packages truly elevated recidivism. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless arduous to know whether or not these findings are legitimate, principally as a result of it’s unclear whether or not folks within the Prop 47 packages appeared much like these folks examined within the PPIC report.
The Promoting Recovery and Services for the Prevention of Recidivism (PRSPR) program applied by the San Francisco Division of Public Well being was designed to supply substance use remedy companies for people with prior legal offenses. The research analysis sadly didn’t use a comparability group and reasonably, examined change from baseline to follow-up for program individuals (i.e., a pre-post take a look at). Preliminary recidivism outcomes did appear encouraging at first: baseline conviction charges have been 4%, in contrast with post-program conviction charges of two%. Out of the folks examined, there have been solely six convictions within the six months previous to this system, in contrast with 4 convictions within the six months following this system. Though this exhibits a lower within the variety of convictions, the numbers have been very small to begin with and the change was not statistically vital. It’s attainable that individuals served by this system weren’t that more likely to recidivate within the first place. Actually, for the overwhelming majority of instances (80%) there was no change in convictions from baseline to observe up. Solely 4 folks (8%) noticed a rise within the variety of convictions after discharge. The authors additionally examined the profitable program completers (n=16) individually, and nonetheless discovered no statistically vital discount in convictions (pre- and post-numbers have been nonetheless very low for this group). Regardless, the research didn’t use a comparability group, so even when findings have been vital, we wouldn’t be capable to say with certainty if it was associated to the Prop 47 program.
The Homeward Bound program applied by the San Joaquin County Behavioral Well being Companies aimed to ship quite a lot of companies (e.g. substance use counseling, psychotherapy, case administration) to county residents, a lot of whom had prior legal histories. For these in this system who had legal histories, there was a re-conviction charge of 15.4%. Compared with the three-year reconviction charge in California of 46.5% (per the CDCR’s 2019 estimates), this system seems to have diminished recidivism. Nevertheless, it’s not talked about whether or not folks collaborating in this system had the identical traits as the broader universe of offenders within the state of California, so it’s difficult to make direct comparisons between these two teams.
The CJCJ report makes Prop 47 sound like an enormous success in lowering recidivism, homelessness, and unemployment. Sadly although, it leaves out plenty of element concerning the precise research, and appears to regurgitate findings listed on the Prop 47 BSCC dashboard with out wanting into the small print of every research. Upon wanting on the particulars of every research although, most of the methodologies usually are not adequate to have the ability to verify trigger and impact. One research (Orange County) is extremely rigorous in with the ability to decide trigger and impact, which noticed about an 11% discount in recidivism. Many of the different research undergo from methodological errors that render their findings questionable. Earlier than selling Prop 47 packages as an enormous success in lowering recidivism, extra top quality research must be carried out to see if they will replicate Orange County’s findings. Based mostly on the analysis on Prop 47 packages, it’s not clear whether or not the fee financial savings have outweighed the potential security threat that comes with lowering jail sentences.
Many individuals are afraid that Prop 47 could have elevated recidivism by lowering the severity of punishment related to sure crimes. The CJCJ report argues in any other case, saying that Prop 47 packages truly lower recidivism, thereby lowering prices with out risking public security. However primarily based on the analysis cited by the CJCJ report, we can’t say for positive that recidivism has truly decreased on account of Prop 47 packages.