Voices from the Field: How California Stakeholders View Public Safety Realignment
257 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 1, 2014
Passage of California’s Public Safety Realignment Act (AB 109) initiated the most sweeping correctional experiment in recent history. Launched on October 1, 2011, Realignment shifted responsibility for most lower-level offenders from the state to California’s 58 counties. By mid-2013, more than 100,000 felons had been diverted from state prison to county jail or probation.
This report summarizes the results of interviews conducted with California stakeholders responsible for implementing the law. Stanford Law School researchers conducted 125 interviews in 21 counties to produce a snapshot of how California is faring under Realignment so far. We talked with police, sheriffs, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation and parole agents, victim advocates, offenders, and social service representatives. Our goal was to determine how Realignment had influenced their agency’s work and what changes they would make to the law.
Our interviews revealed a justice system undergoing remarkable changes, arguably unprecedented in depth and scope. Stakeholders’ opinions varied widely, and their comments reflected their role in the system more than the county they represented.
Keywords: Criminal Law; Realignment; corrections; California; sentencing
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