CA Probation Officers Report 1/23/13

Supervised Offenders Are Not Driving Arrests in CA according to a Report Published by the Council of State Governments

Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) strongly supports efforts to gather data in our system in order to dispel myths and improve practices. We applaud Council of State Governments (CSG) and the jurisdictions that agreed to participate in this report. We should use the evidence to guide and enhance law enforcement and probation practices.

Key in their findings today is the data dispelling the perception that probationers and parolees are the biggest drivers of crime in our communities. Probationers and parolees do not make up the majority of arrests and only account for 22% of all arrests in the jurisdictions participating. While line law enforcement focus groups reported they were arresting a disproportionate number of persons under supervision, or the same persons over and over, the study points out that notion is not born out by the data collected. While no amount of crime is acceptable, analyzing the data to appropriately target resources in methods proven to address the causes of crime is what all Californians should expect from the criminal justice system. Today’s report can provide valuable information to policy makers and practitioners alike.

The report and recommendations affirms the importance of enhanced training, communicating, and partnering between law enforcement and probation. As the report points out – To be successful in providing public safety in our communities training and collaboration is imperative in today’s criminal justice system.

All corners of the system operate within the pressure of scarce resources. It is extremely important to use evidence gathered to target those resources in the most cost effective way and base decisions on what works.

The report also supports the position CPOC has recently taken in terms of information sharing with law enforcement. According to San Diego Chief Mack Jenkins, President of CPOC,

“Probation’s mission is to protect public safety by supervising offenders and facilitating their rehabilitation in order to reduce recidivism. In pursuing that goal, probation recognizes the need to work closely with law enforcement, and as necessary, sharing probation information in a manner that supports criminal investigations and the prevention or reduction of crime.”

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