According to a new study, some types of crime in California have gone up after the realignment program that allows early release for inmates went into effect.
ABC Los Angeles reports that researchers with the Public Policy Institute of California looked at crime rates before and after the realignment, and found significant increases in auto theft and other types of property crimes. Violent crime, however, did not increase.
The realignment program was instituted in 2011 by California Gov. Jerry Brown in an effort to reduce overcrowding in state prisons. The plan, known as AB 109, allows non-violent offenders to be released before their sentences are complete, and calls for county supervision following the early releases.
So far, around 18,000 convicts have been released who would have otherwise still been in prison and the program is costing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) millions of dollars as officers are reassigned to deal with the released felons.
The LAPD stated that more than half of those released are sent back to prison.
“The focus of realignment on non-serious, non-sexual, non-violent offenders tends to translate into not much of an impact on violent crime rates. [W]e do see, however, an increase in auto theft,” said Steven Raphael with the Public Policy Institute.
According to the report, property crime rates after the alignment went up 1.8 percent in Los Angeles County, 7.5 percent in Riverside County, 9.6 percent in Orange County and 10.4 percent in San Bernardino County.
Several law enforcement agencies expected that crime rates would go up with the realignment program. Torrance Police Chief John J. Neu told ABC that property crime in his city increased 12 percent this year. “This was thrust upon us pretty quickly,” Neu said. “There was no input from local law enforcement at all.”
California may have to reduce the prison population further in order to comply with a federal mandate. If that happens, the report says, property crimes could increase from 7 to 12 percent in the next several years.