CA Realignment’s ‘Uncertain’ Impact On Prosecutors


In the third year of California's prison realignment, a Stanford Law School survey reveals that the charging practices of prosecutors in the state remain relatively unchanged.

The report examines arrest-to-charging ratios before and after realignment, which shifted the responsibility of supervising, tracking and imprisoning certain offenders from state prisons to county jails and probation.

Researchers surveyed California prosecutors about their charging methods for various offenses. They heard from District Attorneys in about 70 percent of California counties, but many of the prosecutors were “wary of any intrusion into decisionmaking processes and reluctant to publicly disclose anything that might cause them to be viewed in a negative light.”

Responses revealed that most charging or recommendation preferences had been unaffected by realignment, but there was a “great deal of uncertainty and variation” in how prosecutors use straight, split, and probation sentencing options.

“The degree of change wrought by Realignment should not be exaggerated. It changes the places where certain sentences could be served, but it still uses a combination of custodial and non-custodial sentencing,” researchers wrote.

Read the full study HERE.

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