San Diego, California - The shift of felons from state parole supervision to County Probation supervision did not result in a spike in crime, as measured by arrests, said Probation Chief Mack Jenkins, citing a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) study released late last week.

Under Public Safety Realignment, the state shifted responsibility for non-violent, non-serious, and non-sex offenders to counties in October 2011 to reduce overpopulation in state prisons. That means community offenders who would have previously been in state prison or on state parole now serve their sentences in County jail or under County Probation’s supervision.

The study, called “Arrests of Individuals Under Probation Supervision in the San Diego Region 2012,” showed 12 percent of adults arrested in 2012 were already on probation from a previous offense. That represented an increase of just 2 percent compared to similar data collected in 2008, before AB 109 – the State Public Safety Realignment – took  place, despite the fact that the number of high risk offenders under County Probation supervision grew dramatically: from 3,600 to 6,100 offenders, a 69 percent increase.  

“In other words, we are doing our job with high risk offenders,” said Probation Chief Mack Jenkins of the results.

Jenkins said the report also affirmed much of what Probation had predicted using its tools for assessing risk when it comes to reoffending.

Thosetools consider an offender’s criminal history and background. Offenders are interviewed as part of the process. The information is analyzed and used to predict whether the offender is likely to re-offend. Those with higher scores are managed more closely as appropriate, Jenkins said.

“Those tools have been predictive. That helps us to prioritize our resources on the high risk offenders,” said Jenkins.

The study also found: 

  • Among offenders designated as Post-Release Community Supervision – those transferred from state parole supervision to county probation supervision – the re-arrest rate is 36 percent compared to 22 percent for those under traditional county supervision. However, they would undergo the same risk assessment as other offenders to determine whether they would be placed in the high risk category.
  • Researchers noted a decrease in juvenile offender re-arrest rates. The data showed 12 percent of juveniles arrested in 2012 were already on probation, compared to 18 percent in 2008.

Jenkins said the SANDAG report was useful, but can’t be expected to include all the factors that led to an offender’s re-arrest. So Probation will do further studies to develop further supervision strategies to reduce recidivism.

Click here to see the full report.