SACRAMENTO, Calif. - More than half the people who were released from California prisons did not re-offend, according to a new report conducted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
And roughly the other half were convicted of misdemeanors, mostly for drug and alcohol crimes, the CDCR study released on April 14 found.
The prison system was mandated to conduct these studies following the passage of Prop. 57 in 2016, which allowed for parole consideration for nonviolent felons and authorized sentence credits for rehabilitation and good behavior.
"It is encouraging to see that credit-earning opportunities, particularly in education-led programs, is having a positive impact to improve public safety," said CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said in a statement. "Our focus has been and continues to be on creating an environment in prison that provides vital resources to the incarcerated population so that they can become better citizens upon release."
The CDCR published two reports examining the recidivism outcomes of formerly incarcerated individuals released in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. The latter report is the first CDCR data available examining the recidivism among those impacted by Prop. 57.
In the first report, which examines recidivism data prior to Prop. 57, of the 31,792 total people released in 2016-2017, 52.4 percent successfully reentered their communities and did not receive any additional convictions.
This is a 3 percent decrease from 2015-2016.
Of the 15,123 who received convictions, 51.4 percent were misdemeanor convictions, primarily for drug/alcohol crimes, the study found.
For 2017-2018, of the 35,447 people released, 55.4 percent successfully reentered their communities and did not receive any additional convictions, showing a lower recidivism rate than the year before, the study found.
Of the 15,804 formerly incarcerated people who did receive additional convictions, 53.1 percent were for misdemeanor convictions, primarily for drug/alcohol crimes, the study found.
The CDCR noted that while these are preliminary findings, they show an "early positive trend in California’s investments to improve public safety through an increased focus on rehabilitation, education, and restorative justice efforts."