In 2010, California began what is being called the “justice reform era.” That is when new legislation, voter-approved initiatives, and court mandates began to make sweeping changes to the state’s justice system.
So, is California starting to see the effects of these laws? Recently, a non-profit group Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice released a study of the justice reform era to find out what impact these laws have had.
Justice Reform Era Stats
The study focused on changes in the crime rate in California from 2010 to 2016. According to the report, the crime rate in California dropped by 5 percent, including a 2 percent drop in violent crimes. The only crime that increased in those years was homicide, which increased by 3 percent.
By contrast, there was a 5 percent increase in crime in Los Angeles County, with an 8 percent increase in violent crimes. In the city of Los Angeles, there was a 27 percent increase in violent crimes and a 60 percent increase in the number of reported assaults.
Burbank, Lancaster, Long Beach and Torrance also experienced a higher crime rate, while crime decreased in cities such as Downey, Glendale, Inglewood, Monrovia and Pasadena.
Out of the 89 jurisdictions in Los Angeles County, about half showed an increase while the other half showed a decrease. So why was Los Angeles so different from the rest of the state? Is criminal justice reform working in other California cities but not in Los Angeles?
Criminal Justice Reform Effect on California
In order to analyze whether criminal justice reform laws affected the crime rate, the study looked specifically at the crimes impacted by Prop. 47 and Prop. 57. These laws aimed to reduce the state prison population by recategorizing several drug and theft offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.
Author Mike Males stated that the study found disparities in the trend of local crimes. Los Angeles County’s divergence from California’s trend of decreased crime is likely a result of its large size.
The study suggests that criminal justice reform is not the reason why the crime rate has lowered in California. Most of the cities that had the greatest reduction in crime had very high crime rates before the justice reform era. This shows that crime rates vary based on local policies and practices.
According to the report, the decrease in crime is due to jurisdictions with high crime rates crafting local policies that have been successful at reducing crime.
Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney If You are Arrested for a Crime
If you are arrested for a drug or theft crime in California, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients facing criminal charges for more than 35 years. We are well versed in the recent changes to the law, and we can help you use these laws to your advantage.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.