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Prop 47-funded programs to reduce recidivism find success

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Thursday, October 19, 2023   

New data show that a Los Angeles County program to help people reintegrate into society after incarceration is significantly reducing crime - a program funded by Proposition 47.

A new report on the Re-entry Intensive Case Management Services program, or RICMS, finds a 17% reduction in recidivism - a big improvement over the 6% reduction found in the average re-entry program.

Vanessa Martin is the director of reentry for LA County's Justice, Care and Opportunities Department. She said the data shows positive change across the board.

"RICMS has been effective at reducing arrests, incarcerations, convictions and probation revocations," said Martin. "It also reduced the number of days spent in jail, at both the one year and two year mark."

As part of the program, community health workers help people find housing, work, treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and legal services.

The program and others like it are funded by Proposition 47 - passed in 2014 - which reduced felonies to misdemeanors for certain low-level drug and property crimes, and put the savings toward crime reduction.

Similar programs in other counties show progress as well.

Juan Taizan is the forensic diversion and reentry services director at Alameda County Behavioral Health. He said keeping people out of the system saves the county a lot of money - funds that can be reinvested into the community.

"Alameda County's Proposition 47 program has had significant success serving clients who are re-entering the community," said Taizan. "It has had 80% to 90% success rates, and those clients not recidivating back into the jail system."

Conservative critics blame Proposition 47 for an uptick in violence and property crime last year.

The latest crime stats from the state and from the Public Policy Institute of California show that while both categories rose about 6 percent in 2022, property crime actually hit a historic low in 2020.

Tinisch Hollins is executive director of the nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice, which co-sponsored Prop 47.

"It shows that voters are getting everything they were promised when they voted and passed Prop 47," said Hollins. "I mean, it's $750 million in savings - funding for crime prevention programs up and down the state that are reducing recidivism and increasing housing and employment stability, less incarceration. That was the goal."

Disclosure: Californians for Safety and Justice contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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