One of the inmates I evaluated at San Quentin today had violated parole by missing a counseling appointment. The other had tried to beat a urinalysis after drinking alcohol on his birthday. Every day, busloads of "technical violators" like these two young men are dumped off at California prisons, giving the state the highest recidivism rate in the United States. Within three years of release, two-thirds of California parolees are back behind bars; that's twice the national average.Franklin points to a Los Angeles Times op ed arguing that "Fewer parolees make for safer streets." PacoVilla dislikes the idea, but in a year or so there should be hard data to judge whether the program works. Interesting discussion out on the West Coast, where the Governator and his supporting cast face a full-blown prison overcrowding crisis that's making national headlines.
One method of reducing recidivism that is currently under consideration is to eliminate parole for all except the most dangerous of released prisoners. It's been done in other states and, counterintuitively, it may make the public safer. That's because limited resources can be targeted toward identifying and supervising the few very dangerous ex-prisoners.
Parole agents in two Southern California counties will be testing this idea starting next month. If it works, the changes may be implemented statewide next year.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Would reducing the number of people on parole reduce recidivism?
With revocations for technical violations at an all-time high, would reducing the number of Californians on parole reduce recidivism? California will find out in a pilot program, reports forensic psychologist Karen Franklin on her blog: