The California High Stakes Test Kitchen for Recidivism Reduction
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride
I had an opportunity to scan through the latest realignment report from Joan Petersilia, Ph.D., How California Stakeholders View Public Safety Realignment. Many Stanford law students participated in the study. They 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.” Missing from the list of “stakeholders” are average law abiding citizens.
The report looks at the, “intended and unintended effects of California’s 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act, which shifts responsibilities for low-level offenders away from the state system to the local county level. The report states:
- By mid-2013, more than 100,000 felons had been diverted from state prison to county jail or probation.
- In just two short years, Realignment has changed the face of California’s criminal justice system and everyone agrees that, like it or not, it is here to stay.
- California represents a high-stakes test kitchen
- Realignment asks stakeholders to put aside personal agendas and work collaboratively toward a shared goal of reducing recidivism.
- The seriousness of the realigned population’s criminal backgrounds was also unexpected and remains a key challenge.
Who would have thought that the people in prison were actually bad criminals? I guess the “offender stakeholders” are not putting aside personal agendas. Maybe the test kitchen has been contaminated? I don’t recall the Stanford group describing the Public Safety Realignment scam as a “high stakes test kitchen” before. Additional findings in the report include,
- Police officers walking the beats in cities across California had few positive comments about Realignment
- While scholars say it’s too early to link Realignment to an increase in crime, the numbers are creating real problems for some cities—particularly those that had police layoffs before Realignment
- In jails plagued with overcrowding, sheriffs often feel the only option to assure inmate safety and prevent violence is to keep more inmates in lock down. As a result, few offenders have access to rehabilitation programs, and extreme idleness is a problem.
- The California State Sheriffs’ Association reported that by February 2013, there were 1,109 jail inmates sentenced to 5 to 10 years in jail, and 44 who were sentenced to more than 10 years.
I would tend to put more trust in the opinions of police officers than a group of Stanford law students and an academician. Recidivism reduction is under the purview of the criminal, not the prison system. “Evidence-based Programs” are nonsense. Academicians can wish for recidivism reduction all they want, but it’s a fools’ dream. They want us to surrender to the realignment scam. Here are some selected lyrics from a song for California citizens to sing to the realignment bad dream, by the band Smallpools, Dreaming followed by the music video.
I see the place that we’ve been locked together, together Like we were something more
They want us to surrender, to surrender
Between their crossfire We’ll send them up a message
We’re saying “give it up, give it up” We’ve got no place to go Caught up in the rodeo Oh no, please God tell me we’re dreaming We’ve got nowhere to run They’ve all got loaded guns Oh no, please God tell me we’re dreaming