Estimated Cost Savings from Closure of LA County Men's Central Jail (MCJ)
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, there was an associated decline in jail populations across the country. In California, the statewi
de jail population declined from 72,387 to 50,690 by May 2020. In Los Angeles County, the jail population dropped from 17,000 to below 12,000 by June 2020. Based on that decline and the Board of Supervisors (BOS) desire to take steps to maintain the County’s jail population within the Board of State and Community Correction’s (BSCC) rated bed capacity, the BOS established a Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) Closure Workgroup to develop a plan to close the antiquated facility. This study estimates the cost savings from a reduced jail population post-COVID-19 with existing jail system configuration, estimates the cost savings from the closure of MCJ, and develops a jail population projection that would support the MCJ closure and reduce the overall post-COVID-19 jail population.
Pretrial Risk Assessments
Pretrial risk assessment instruments are used in many jurisdictions to inform decisions regarding pretrial release and condi tions. Many are concerned that the use of pretrial risk assessment instruments may be contributing to worsened, not improved, pretrial outcomes, including increased rates of pretrial detention and exacerbated racial disparities in pretrial decisions. However, the scientific evidence behind these concerns is lacking. Instead, the findings of rigorous research show that the results of pretrial risk assessment instruments demonstrate good accuracy in predicting new criminal activity, including violent crime, during the pretrial period, even when there are differences between groups defined by race and ethnicity. Furthermore, the scientific evidence suggests they can be an effective strategy to help achieve pretrial system change, including reducing pretrial detention for people of color and white people alike, when their results are actually used to inform decision-making. In this article, we review the scientific evidence in relation to three primary critiques of pretrial risk assess ment instruments, namely, that their results have poor accuracy and are racially biased and that their use increases pretrial detention rates. We also provide recommendations for addressing these critiques to ensure that their use supports, rather than detracts from, the goals of pretrial reform and articulates an agenda for future research.
Safe and Effective Bail Reform
Cook County’s bail reform has resulted in increased use of non-financial pretrial release options (I Bonds) and declines in the monetary cost of bail set for detained felony defendants. These two impacts have served to reduce the number of defendants admitted to the Cook County jail and the duration of their incarceration. Furthermore, the number of people sentenced to state prison has been significantly reduced. As a result, the size of both the Cook County pretrial population and the Illinois state prison population has been significantly reduced. These impacts have occurred as the number of total crimes and violent crimes in Cook County have continued to decline. Claims by critics that crime has increased as a result of the bail reform effort have not been properly tested, are not credible and should be ignored.
Estimating the Impact of the 2018 Ohio Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment
This document estimated the impact of the Ohio ballot initiative known as Issue One. The basic objectives of the Ohio initiative were declassifying drug possession/use from felonies to misdemeanor level crimes, diverting technical CC , granting sentence credits of 1/2 day for every day participating in designated program up to 25% of sentence, and granting a one-time 30-day credit for people completing designated risk reduction programs prior to release.
The Startling Link Between Low Interest Rates and Low Crime
Crime rates have plummeted in the U.S. since the mid 1990's. Most of the credit for this remarkable trend has been given to an enlarged criminal justice system - more police, tougher sentencing and a massive prison complex. The larger, more powerful explanation: lower interest rates, particularly long term interest rates.
Eliminating Mass Incarceration -
San Francisco's Success
As of the publishing of this report, San Francisco City and County had been reducing its jail and prison populations at a pace that far exceeded the state and national rates. The jail and prison rate of incarceration was 279 per 100,000 population, less than 1/3rd the national rate. As declines in the correctional populations occurred in San Francisco, its crime rate also declined to historically low levels, including a drop of over 60% in Juvenile arrests. If the rest of the country could match San Francisco’s progress, the number of individuals under correctional supervision would plummet from approximately 7 million to 2 million. The nation’s 2.3 million prison and jail populations would decline to below 700,000. This report provides an in depth look at San Francisco’s progress.
The Impact of Realignment (California AB109) on State and Local Corrections
This paper reviews previous successful efforts to reduce the use of incarceration largely using economic incentives. It also examines the effects of Realignment at both the state and local levels. In particular, two counties (Los Angeles and Contra Costa) have produced strikingly different results in terms of how state sentenced offenders are sentenced and supervised in the post-Realignment era. An argument is made that by providing economic incentives to local policy makers with the flexibility to impose sentences that meet their interests, major reductions in correctional populations will result.
San Diego County Community Corrections Programs
This document details an evaluation of three major programs that have been in place in San Diego County’s Community Corrections Programs since at least 2008: Work Release, Work Furlough, and County Parole. By identifying and measuring attributes of successful offenders, the study examined whether there are other suitable candidates for these three programs. Simulations were also conducted to determine the impact on the county jail population if these three programs were to be expanded for either sentenced, pretrial or both populations.
Contra Costa County
For years, California has been faced with lawsuits and intrusive federal court orders related to conditions caused by overcrowding in its state prison system. One state response was Public Safety Realignment (AB 109), a law implemented in October 2011 that shifted responsibility for people convicted of certain non-violent, non-serious felonies from the state prison and parole system to county probation and jail systems. Before and since Public Safety Realignment, an increasing number of California counties have faced litigation regarding overcrowding, including court-ordered population caps. In light of those pressures, this study explored successful models for reducing jail populations, costs and recidivism rates.
New York City's
Reduction of Mass Incarceration
Are there connections between decreases in crime, decreases in correctional population, and a sharp increase in controversial police practices? In this report, leading criminologists James Austin and Michael Jacobson took an empirical look at these powerful social changes and any interconnections. Examining data from 1985 to 2009, they conclude that New York City’s “broken windows” policy, focusing law enforcement resources on petty crimes or violations, did something unexpected. It reduced the entire correctional population of the state. As the NYPD focused on low-level arrests, it devoted fewer resources to felony arrests. At the same time, a lowered crime rate meant that fewer people were committing felonies.
Reducing America's Correctional Populations
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, It had been 50 years since a decline in the nation’s prison population has been report ed. As of the publishing of this report, the crime rate was essentially the same as in 1969 but the incarceration rate was about five times higher than in 1969. With the soaring costs of corrections and a stagnant economy, policy makers were searching for ways to lower their investment in corrections. The only ways to lower correctional populations are to reduce the number of admissions and the lengths of stay in prison or through probation and parole. This paper presented steps to a solution that, in part, suggested a return to sentencing and correctional policies that existed a few decades ago when our crime rate was similar but our incarceration rate was much lower.
Reducing America's Prison Population
This report focused on how we can reduce the nation’s prison population without adversely affecting public safety. The suggestions included reducing the number of people sent to prison and, for those who do go to prison, shortening the length of time they spend behind bars, under parole and under probation surveil lance. People who break the law must be held account able, but many of those incarcerated should receive alternative forms of punishment. Those who are sent to prison must spend a shorter period incarcerated before coming home to our communities. The report recommended reestablishing practices that were the norm in America for most of the previous century, when incarceration rates were a fraction of what they are now.
Forecasting America's Prison Population
An operating project of The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP) helped states advance fiscally sound, data driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that also protected public safety, held offenders accountable and controlled corrections costs. The project helped states diagnose the factors driving prison growth and provided policy audits to identify options for reform. By conducting nonpartisan research and analysis, educating the public and federal and state policy makers, bringing together diverse stakeholders, and encouraging pragmatic, consensus-based solutions, the PSPP identified and advanced effective public policy approaches to reduce crime and incarceration.
Blueprint to Improve Public Safety and Reduce Costs
This report highlights promising initiatives that a number of states had implemented to reform prison systems and to reduce costs while maintaining public safety. These initiatives were designed to enhance public safety by first ensuring that dangerous and violent prisoners were incarcerated, and then to reduce prison populations and costs by diverting non-violent offenders from prison to alternative rehabilitation and sanctioning programs or by reducing their prison sentences.
Proper and Improper Use of Pretrial Risk Assessment
Much has been written on the ability to assess risk. Succinctly put, while there is evidence of the predictability of the behavior of groups (macro level behavior), it is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict the behavior of individuals within these groups (micro level behavior). This paper addresses provides a primer on risk assessement.
National Institute of Corrections
Objective Prison Classification
Classification systems help minimize the potential for prison violence, escape, and institutional misconduct. During the two decades prior to this report, professionals in prisons and those in other correctional systems worked assiduously to improve their approach es to classifying offenders according to custody, work, and programming needs. As a result of these efforts, criteria for custody decisions have been validated, custody decisions are more consistent, overclassification has been reduced, prisoner pro gram needs are assessed more systematically, and institutional violence has declined. Since the 1980s, objective prison classification systems have been widely adopted in the United States, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.
This document was funded by the National Institute of Corrections under cooperative agreement number 00P13GIN8 with The Institute on Crime, Justice and Corrections at The George Washington University. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Classification of High Risk and Special Managment Prisoners
Over time, prison systems have experienced increased pressure to improve their approaches to classifying prisoners according to custody, work, and programming needs. Litigation and overcrowding have caused classification sys tems to be viewed as a principal management tool for allocating scarce prison resources efficiently and minimizing the potential for violence or escape. These sys tems are also expected to provide greater accountability and to help forecast future prison bedspace, staffing requirements, and prisoner program needs. Although most prison systems have implemented objective classification systems that have proven effective in determining the custody level assigned to an inmate designated for the general population, less attention has been devoted to identifying inmates who require special management. This report addressed issues related to classification of high risk and special management inmates.
This report was funded by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) under cooperative agreement 01P09G1Q1 with Security Response Technologies, Inc., and subcontracted with The Institute on Crime, Justice and Corrections at The George Washington University. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Findings in Prison Classification and Risk Assessment
The purpose of this report was to summarize new information and knowledge at the time of its writing to show that credible and valid classification and risk assessment systems were needed imminently to improve correctional operations and performance while reducing costs and recidivism.
Internal Prison Classification Systems
NIC, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), and ICJC worked with eight states over a 7-year period to develop, pilot-test, implement, and evalu ate internal prison classification systems. Barriers to the development and implementation of these systems led to the development of a model process and timetable for designing and implementing internal classification systems. The importance of clearly identifying the targeted inmate population and the issues to be addressed by the system was a critical les son learned by each state. The diversity of their models developed suggests that there is no “best model,” nor should there be one. Instead, the instruments and process must be tailored and validated to the specific populations for which they will be used. A set of standards applicable to all internal classification systems was, however identi fied.
The research for this report was funded by National Institute of Corrections under cooperative agreements #93P045HV5, 97P06GIE8, and 98P06GII0 with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and partially subcontracted to The George Washington University. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
Revalidating External Prison Classification Systems
The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) funded two 15-month projects to assist 10 states with the revalidation of their external objective classification systems. This initiative represented a continuation of NIC’s efforts to develop and improve the capacity of state correctional agencies’ classification sys tems. This report describes the work undertaken by the participating states, provides an outline of the fundamental tasks required for a revalidation effort, and summarizes the external classification trends and lessons learned from these classification reforms. Copies of the classification instruments and statistical tables are provided to illustrate options for other states faced with similar issues.
This report was funded by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) under cooperative agreement #97P09GIF7 and #98P09GII2 with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and subcontracted to The George Washington University and cooperative agreement #99P04GIJ7 between NIC and The George Washington University. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
Critical Issues and Developments in Prison Classification
Since the development and implementation of objective prison classification systems by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the California Department of Corrections during the late 1970s, the nation’s prison systems have changed fundamentally how inmates are classified and managed. These classification systems utilize objective criteria known to be associated with inmate misconduct, as well as sound correctional policies to determine the appropriate custody level that is consistent with the inmate’s threat to the safety and security of the public, the institution, other inmates, staff, and self. Additionally, objective classification systems are important for planning the construction of new prisons and the development of inmate programs. Despite these important developments, much work remains in the area of inmate classification. This bulletin summarized the current critical classification issues to enable correctional administrators to anticipate further improvements.