Understanding How Counties Implement Criminal Justice Policy Changes

California Sentencing Institute

The California Sentencing Institute (CASI) interactive map now shows annual criminal and juvenile justice statistics for 2009-2015. The map provides users with county-by-county visual comparisons illustrating law enforcement practices, incarceration rates, and trends over seven years.

Given the shift in criminal justice policies stemming from Public Safety Realignment in 2011, juvenile justice realignment in 2007, and Proposition 47 in 2014, the CASI map provides a useful visual tool for understanding and monitoring how counties implement statewide policy changes.

Adult trends

CASI Map adult

From 2014 to 2015, crime in California generally increased. State figuresshow California’s 2015 violent crime rate increased by 9 percent and the property crime rate increased by 7 percent from 2014 levels. This increase may explain why several counties experienced higher rates of state and local incarceration per felony arrests in 2015 compared to 2014.

Coinciding with trends in previous years, in 2015, Kings County’s rate of state incarceration per the general population continued to rank highest in California. This may be due to the presence of three men’s state prisons in the county. As in 2014, Kings, Shasta and Tehama counties ranked highest in contributing to the state prison population. However, all counties showed a decrease in their rates of adults held in prison per 100,000.

Riverside County surpassed Kings County in its reliance on state prisons, jumping from a rate of 465 people incarcerated per 1,000 felony arrests in 2014, to a rate of 685 in 2015. Shasta County and Los Angeles County rates also increased from 453 in 2014 to 631 in 2015, and 444 to 608, respectively. Kings County’s state incarceration rate decreased slightly, dropping from 608 in 2014 to 602 in 2015. .

Orange County had the highest jail population per 1,000 felony arrests in 2015, increasing from a rate of 25  in 2014 to 381 in 2015. Inyo and Yuba were again among the highest rates of jail population in 2015, also with increasing rates.

In 2015, San Francisco had the highest total reported crime rate for the third year in a row, followed by Alameda and Stanislaus counties. San Francisco’s reported crime rate was comprised of 89 percent property crimes, and 11 percent violent offenses. San Joaquin, San Francisco, and Shasta counties saw the highest rates of reported violent offenses in 2015.

Juvenile Trends

CASI Map juvenile

When reviewing the 2015 juvenile CASI map, it is important to note that many of California’s small counties have small, estimated youth populations (ages 10-17) and very few juvenile felony arrests. This will cause incarceration rates per juvenile felony arrest to be higher, though the real numbers may be small. For example, in 2015, Inyo County arrested 3 youth for felony offenses, and committed one youth to the state youth corrections system in 2015. This scenario causes the state confinement rate of youth per 1,000 juvenile felony arrests to be high.

Kings, Mendocino, and Yolo counties had the highest juvenile arrest rates in 2015, with Kings County maintaining among the highest rates of youth arrest from 2011-2015. San Francisco showing very high youth arrest rates for 2009-2015. However, in 2015, the juvenile arrest rates among the highest ranked counties decreased overall compared to 2014.

Consistent with the findings of a October 2016 CJCJ report studying the prosecution of youth as adults in California counties, Yuba County by far showed the highest rates of direct transfer of youth to adult courts in 2015. Yuba County had the highest ranking in this category for 2013-2015.

Proposition 47 SavingsIn November 2016, Proposition 57 eliminated the discretion of district attorneys to directly prosecuting youth as adults, also known as direct file, without the input of a judge. This practice was shown to have a disparate impact on youth of color and the use of direct file in a county depended more on the politics of the district attorney than the prevalence of youth crime.

Erica Webster
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

About Erica Webster

Erica Webster is a member of the policy team at the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco.

Speak Your Mind

*