Probation Chiefs Support Governor Newsom’s Proposal to Advance Proven Probation Practices


SACRAMENTO – The Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) announced their support for Governor Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal to advance proven practices by probation, tailor probation term length based on research and expand these practices to high risk misdemeanants.  The proposal will support adults on probation through the enhancement of best practices and alignment of some misdemeanor offenses with risk and need principles to improve public safety, reduce repeat offending, save taxpayer dollars, and increase the stability and success of people exiting probation.

Advancing Probation Proposal

“The Governor’s adult probation proposal recognizes California can enhance public safety by targeting resources toward programs and services with the greatest potential to end the cycle of incarceration by matching client needs to effective services early in the individual’s treatment,” said Chief Brian Richart, President of CPOC. “We know, based on the success of SB 678, that investing in evidence-based practices on the front-end and aligning supervision and services with a person’s risk and needs, rather than simply their offense, will improve public safety and give people a better chance of staying crime-free for the long-term. This proposal has the potential to expand proven practices to an area underserved in our system, high risk misdemeanants. We join in support of the Governor’s proactive stance to improve outcomes and build a safer community.”

Probation is an often underestimated and misunderstood part of California’s criminal justice system, even though the profession serves the most people. This proposal has the potential to build upon the decade of reform and progress made in the adult probation system since the adoption of SB 678 in 2009. It demonstrates forward thinking and use of common sense for California to further these evidence-based advancements to enhance the criminal justice system, improve safety outcomes, and create a stronger system for everyone.

With SB 678 funding, county probation departments adopted evidence-based practices, increased reentry and support services, and emphasized community supervision practices that address needs to help reduce recidivism. According to Judicial Council of California, the results have consistently stayed below the original baseline revocation rate of 7.9% which has reduced the jail and prison populations and helped end people cycling in and out of the criminal justice system.

A key part of this proposal will allow probation to focus appropriate supports and supervision based on the risk and needs of a client and less on the singular factor of their offense. This focus was the cornerstone of probation’s response to felony supervision and can be applied to appropriate misdemeanor offenses.  The proposal also modifies probation terms to reflect research that demonstrates working with individuals using appropriate services and supports within the first 2 years of their probation term is the best way to help change their behavior and reduce re-offense. 

“This is a progressive way to align probation practices to gain better public safety outcomes and acknowledges the needed resources to work with people early in their term which is the most crucial time to change behavior, reduce re-offense and help address needs,” continued Richart.  “While California has recently experienced historically lower crime rates overall, some high-risk misdemeanants continue to pose serious and chronic issues. This continues to disrupt the quality of life in our communities and stand in the way of individuals making lasting changes to their life. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on the details of this proposal in order to implement this system change in a thoughtful and evidence-based way.”    

Governor’s Overall Budget Proposal

“We stand ready to work with the Governor, legislators, and all stakeholders to discuss the best way to ensure the public’s safety, focused on proven practices that will help individuals achieve a healthier lifestyle and stay out of the cycle of incarceration. We will continue to support proposals based on evidence-based practices, preserving local control, ensuring accountability and focusing on rehabilitation.”

To view the Governor’s budget click here

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