Gov. Jerry Brown's "realignment" of criminal justice procedures, aimed at reducing overcrowding in state prisons by diverting more felons into local jails and probation, has not resulted in lower rates of new criminal activity among offenders, a study by the Public Policy Institute of California concludes.
New offenses by those released from custody are known as "recidivism" and putting felons under local control was supposed to include more drug treatment and other programs to reduce their criminal activity.
However, the PPIC study concludes, "We find that the post-realignment period has not seen dramatic changes in arrests or convictions of released offenders. In the context of realignment's broad reforms to the corrections system, our findings suggest that offender behavior has not changed substantially."
"Overall arrest rates of released offenders are down slightly, with the proportion of those arrested within a year of release declining by two percentage points," the authors of the study, Magnus Lofstrom, Steven Raphael, and Ryken Grattet, continue. "At the same time, the proportion of those arrested multiple times has increased noticeably, by about seven percentage points. These higher multiple arrest rates may reflect the substantial increase in the time that released offenders spend on the streets--a result of counties' limited jail capacity."
The PPIC study may provide new ammunition for the critics of realignment who contend that the state is solving its prison overcrowding problem under pressure from federal judges but in doing so is putting new burdens on local governments, particularly county jails, that result in more criminal activity.
Recently in Rehabilitation Category
Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is in rehab and enjoying it..."Rehab is amazing," Ford told The Toronto Sun....He compared it to the Washington Redskins camp he went to as a boy.
Would readers please take up a collection so I can go to rehab, too?
There will be two varieties of spin put on this study. The first and most publicized will come from "Smart on Crime" advocates, which includes the ACLU, the Urban Institute, the Sentencing Project and much of academia. They will point to these findings as proof that fixed and progressively severe consequences for criminals, such as mandatory minimums and habitual criminal sentencing have failed to rehabilitate criminals. We will be told that the current transition to alternative sentencing featuring "evidence based practices" and treatment programs will help to reform the current racially biased system, lower the recividism rate, improve public safety, and remove the stigma on America as the "incarceration nation."
"Evidence-based practices" has become a buzzword in corrections, but for the reasons Volokh points out, much of the "evidence" is nearly worthless.
After yesterday's introduction to the topic, today I'll talk about how the self-selection problem makes any evaluation of faith-based programs with regular programs problematic. I'll illustrate with some of the most problematic studies, which show the self-selection problem in its most naked form. I'll then show some of the better studies, which control for certain important variables, but I'll explain why even those are inadequate to solve the self-selection problem.The problem is not by any means limited to faith-based programs. It permeates the whole field. As long as the "treatment group" and the "control group" are selected in a way that makes them different in their attitude toward going straight, the study is essentially garbage. Random selection and large sample sizes are necessary to valid studies, but random selection is a tough sell. Can we really assign people to rehabilitation programs in a lottery, denying the guy who wants it and assigning the one who doesn't give a damn?
Maybe not. National Review Franklin Center Fellow Jillian Kay Melchior appears in this video interview with some disturbing findings.
Sebelius made the admission in an exchange with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. It was the second time in a week Sebelius was on Capitol Hill, forced to defend the problem-plagued ObamaCare website.
"Isn't it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check," Cornyn asked her.
"That is true," Sebelius answered. "States could add in additional background checks and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement."
Cornyn pressed, "So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?"
Sebelius answered, "This is possible."
I trust our readers do not include Puritanical dorks who might object to a felon's getting their Social Security numbers. Don't you people believe in second chances?
Just when Lindsay Lohan seemed to be making progress in her court-ordered rehab, FOX411's Pop Tarts column has learned that the actress endured "several problems" while in lock down at California's Betty Ford clinic, and will now be getting help elsewhere.
Sources close to the situation tell us the District Attorney approved the change earlier this week, and on Thursday Lohan was being relocated to Cliffside Malibu.
In March, Lohan pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges stemming from the June 2012 car accident; reckless driving and providing false information to a police officer. She was sentenced to 90 days in a lock down rehabilitation center, 30 days of community service, and 18 months of mandated psychotherapy.
Well gosh, at least she'll be getting that "mandated psychotherapy" -- and at a tough-as-nails place like "Cliffside Malibu."
Fast-forward 50 years, and those who do not remember this history are working to condemn the nation to repeat it, over the vehement objection of those who do remember. One of the programs touted to rehabilitate criminals so we won't need to lock so many up is halfway houses. Or maybe not. Sam Dolnick has this story in the NYT:
The federal government and states across the country have spent billions of dollars in recent years on sprawling, privately run halfway houses, which are supposed to save money and rehabilitate inmates more effectively than prisons do.Thanks to Michael Santella for the link.
But now, a groundbreaking study by officials in Pennsylvania is casting serious doubt on the halfway-house model, concluding that inmates who spent time in these facilities were more likely to return to crime than inmates who were released directly to the street.
The findings startled the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett, which responded last month by drastically overhauling state contracts with the companies that run the 38 private halfway houses in Pennsylvania. The system costs more than $110 million annually.
Pennsylvania's corrections secretary, John E. Wetzel, who oversaw the study, called the system "an abject failure."
The agencies charged with enforcing laws and supervising criminal offenders in Calaveras County aren't getting along with each other and are bungling key tasks required under California's 2011 criminal justice realignment, according to a county grand jury report.Along with shifting a lot of incarcerated felons from state prison to county jail, the realignment bill also shifted the supervision of a lot of released felons from the state parole system to county probation offices. Over the years, probation officers have developed a different culture from parole officers. I'm sure this is due in large part to the differences in the criminal populations they have supervised. The people supervised by probation officers in the past were, by definition, those that the judge thought were suitable for probation, largely based on the judge's assessment of their potential for rehabilitation. Those who ended up being supervised by parole officers tended to be the hardened criminals. Probation officers therefore tended to develop more of a rehabilitation viewpoint, while parole officers tended toward a viewpoint that their job was to protect the public from this still-dangerous criminal.
Lindsay Lohan agreed to spend 90 days in a "locked in" drug rehab facility as part of a plea deal to settle criminal charges against her Monday.
The actress entered pleas of no contest on two misdemeanor charges relating to a traffic accident last summer, and she did not challenge the finding that she violated her shoplifting probation with those convictions.
This story is so chock full of goodies about the surreal nature of Hollywood justice that it should get some kind of award. Here's one tidbit:
She's spent 250 days in five rehab facilities since January 2007, including one long court-ordered stint after a failed drug test.
The actress has appeared in court at least 20 times before four Los Angeles judges who have now found her in violation of probation six times and sentenced her to a total of nine months in jail.
Lohan has spent about two weeks behind bars in six trips to the Los Angeles County jail, served 35 days under house arrest and worked about 67 days of community service at the county morgue.
More goodies follow the break.
A small clarification. The paper does not suggest that community supervision (or any lesser sentence) should replace prison in cases where it is warranted for just punishment or public safety. The paper discusses the proper (and improper) use of community supervision in typical cases involving people whose crimes are minor, whose culpability is low, and/or whose threat to public safety is minimal; and for those who have served their sentences and are transitioning back to their communities. When community supervision is used, of course it should be thoughtful, well-resourced, and carefully executed. My point is that it is often used in ways and for people who would be better punished in differently, be it through jail time, fines, or unconditional discharge. If anything in the paper misleads on that point (or any other), I welcome suggestions for revision and clarification.
To decrease the overuse of imprisonment, sentencing and correctional practices should therefore limit, rather than expand, the use of community supervision in three important ways.
First, terms of community supervision should be imposed in fewer cases, with alternatives ranging from fines to unconditional discharge to short jail terms imposed instead. Second, conditions of probation and post-release supervision should be imposed sparingly, and only when they directly correspond to a risk of re-offense. Finally, terms of community supervision should be limited in duration, extending only long enough to facilitate a period of structured re-integration after sentencing or following a term of incarceration.
Got it. "Community supervision" was just a head fake.
I have said for a long time that the end-incarceration crowd was an exercise in deception -- that it was just a mask for the end-punishment crowd. I very much appreciate Prof. Klingele's coming out of the closet to vindicate my assessment.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Correction Commissioner Dora B. Schriro today announced that the City will award a contract for the nation's first Social Impact Bond, an innovative way to fund promising new programs at no cost to taxpayers. As part of the Young Men's Initiative, this investment will support a new evidence-based program for young adults on Rikers Island. The program - the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience (ABLE) - focuses on personal responsibility education, training and counseling, with the goal of reducing the likelihood of reincarceration. In this new model, private investors fund the intervention through a nonprofit contractor and the government pays the contractor only if the program meets its goals. Goldman Sachs will provide financing, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide grant support for the effort and MDRC, a leading non-profit, will oversee project implementation.I am deeply skeptical of the claims of "evidence-based" rehabilitation practices, because I know how easy it is for interested parties to produce "evidence" that is complete hogwash. I also know how the amount of scrutiny that any research receives is strongly influenced by its Political Correctness quotient: intense and hostile for research with conservative implications and vastly more lax for research with liberal implications. But if Goldman Sachs' own money is on the line, they will surely examine the evidence of program effectiveness meticulously, and PC quotient be damned.* * *An independent evaluation, conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice, will assess the rates of reincarceration and determine the program's effectiveness over time. If the program does not meet its targets for reducing reincarceration, the City pays nothing. For Goldman Sachs to break even on its original investment, the program will need to reduce reincarceration by 10%.
One flaw I see here is having the Vera Institute do the results evaluation. That organization has a strong ideological interest in seeing rehabilitation programs declared "effective." A less interested evaluator would have been a better choice.
Well, they aren't like us, and they don't reflect deeply and repent. John Christoffersen has this story for AP from Connecticut:
The Connecticut killer who once called himself one of the most hated men in America said in a death row interview that he tries not to think about the murder of a suburban mother and her two daughters, suffers no nightmares and has nothing to say to the only survivor of the brutal 2007 attack.
Joshua Komisarjevsky told The Associated Press in his first interview since he was convicted that there isn't anything he could say to Dr. William Petit "that will restore the lives lost."
He also declined an opportunity to express remorse for the killings.
"I guess my reaction is not the reaction society expected," Komisarjevsky said.
It's exactly the reaction I expected.