California Arrests Study


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On January 22, 2013, the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released The Impact of Probation and Parole Populations on Arrests in Four California Cities. The unprecedented study answered a question that had been a matter of speculation among law enforcement and corrections officials everywhere: to what extent do people on probation and parole contribute to crime, as measured by arrests?

The chiefs of the Los Angeles, Redlands, Sacramento, and San Francisco Police Departments commissioned the analysis in 2010. Collecting and analyzing the data required an extraordinary effort spanning 11 independent agencies, including four local police jurisdictions, county law enforcement and probation agencies, two county sheriffs’ departments and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Researchers at the CSG Justice Center collected and matched more than 2.5 million arrest, parole, and probation records generated between January 1, 2008, and June 11, 2011.

Among the most notable findings in these four jurisdictions:
  • The majority of all adult felony and misdemeanor arrests were of people who were not currently under supervision. People under supervision accounted for only 22 percent of total arrests.
  • Whereas people under probation and parole supervision accounted for one out of every six arrests for violent crimes, they accounted for one out of every three drug arrests.
  • During a 3.5 year period in which total arrests fell by 18 percent, the number of arrests involving people under parole supervision declined by 61 percent, and declined by 26 percent for people under probation supervision.
The study was funded by the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States, the Public Welfare Foundation, The Fund for Nonviolence and the Rosenberg Foundation.

To download The Impact of Probation and Parole Populations on Arrests in California Fact Sheet, click here

Questions answered in this report

What subsets of the population under supervision are most likely to reoffend?
Among those subsets, what riskfactors do they have in common?
What data would provide law enforcement with meaningful information about the relationship between crime and people who have been released from prison or are under supervision?
What strategies can law enforcement employ to better respond to the people returning from prison who are either under community supervision or return with no supervision requirements?