Crime in California has generally declined since the prison-jail “realignment” of 2011 that sharply reduced the state prison population by court order, says a report by Mike Males for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, an advocacy group in California. The report says that comparing 2014 to 2010, both violent and property crime dropped after realignment took effect on October 1, 2011, with a small increase in 2012 more than offset by declines in 2013 and 2014. These trends are similar to those that prevailed before realignment and are well within the range of normal year-to-year fluctuations, the report said.
Some law-enforcement officials had warned that releasing so many prisoners would lead to an increase in crime. The new report contends that, “Realignment and crime do not have a causal relationship. Vehicle theft, and theft in general, also do not appear to be worsening in counties with lower rates of non-violent imprisonments compared to those with the highest rates.” California's prison population peaked at about 170,000 in 2007 and stood at around 161,000 in 2010. After the realignment took effect, as well as other reforms, the prison population proceeded rapidly through mid-2012 to 133,000. It then stalled, but fell again to 128,416 as of August 19.