Report Highlights Positive Outcomes in Probation Since Realignment
PPIC releases report documenting probation supervision as a cost-effective tool in public safety amid significant reforms.

Press Release

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a report, California Probation in the Era of Reform, which shows, through data collection, that probation is responsible for more people in the criminal justice system than all other public safety entities combined, remains the most cost-effective sanction in the criminal justice system, and has been successful in expanding evidence based practices to reduce recidivism post realignment.


“Much of this information is well known to us in the probation industry but we always appreciate third party corroboration that probation is a highly effective and cost-efficient entity in our justice system,” said Chief Mary Butler, President of the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC).  “While we have always supervised serious and dangerous offenders, realignment has definitely added more of those types of offenders to our caseloads. This report shows even with the increase in this number, probation still has been able to reduce recidivism rates post realignment by expanding evidence based practices.  When needed, we utilize confinement for serious offenses as a part of an evidence based graduated sanctions approach.”


The PPIC report notes that local probation departments in California are responsible for about 390,000 offenders while state parole is responsible for about 45,000.  The report also notes probation as less costly than prison, jail, and state parole and has decreased commitments to prison since realignment. Additionally, it points out California should continue to grow reentry options and probation has done a good job investing in evidence based practices prior to realignment which has helped lay the groundwork for implementing realignment.  


“Evidence based practices make a clear connection that we must supervise high-risk offenders more closely and hold them accountable when not participating in their rehabilitation efforts. However, with a return to custody rate near 70% prior to realignment, it’s clear what we are doing is working and ongoing resources for this effort will continue to move us in the right direction,” said Butler. “We only utilize return to custody in order to correct behavior and hold people accountable to their conditions so ultimately when they come back into our communities they will be in a better position to re-invest in their programming to change their behavior long term.”  



The Chief Probation Officers of California, are an association of all 58 counties with a shared identity as law enforcement leaders. We are committed to a research-based approach to public safety that promotes positive behavior change. Our leadership guides policy and practice in the areas of prevention, community-based corrections, secure detention and direct human services. Our goal is to prevent crime and delinquency, reduce recidivism, restore victims and promote healthy families and communities. We proudly serve our Counties and Courts.