LAO Reports

California's Criminal Justice System: A Primer (2013)

January 17, 2013

 


In recent years, the state has passed various laws altering the state's criminal justice system. Most notably, in 2011, the state shifted--or "realigned"--responsibility to house and supervise tens of thousands of adult felons from the state to local governments. Major policy changes such as the 2011 realignment, as well as others, are likely to raise numerous questions from policymakers, practitioners, and the public regarding those policies' impacts on public safety and costs. Consequently, we are releasing an updated version of our 2007 report California's Criminal Justice System: A Primer. This report includes key statistics on crime rates, adult and juvenile arrests, prosecutions in the criminal courts, and state and local corrections in California. Where possible, this information is provided through 2011, providing readers with a picture of the state's criminal justice system prior to the full implementation of the 2011 realignment, against which they can evaluate how the system changed following realignment (such as in terms of crime rates, court caseloads, and correctional populations). This report also includes in-depth discussions of some of the most important criminal justice issues likely to face policymakers in coming years.