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More paroled felons stay clean, but revolving door continues

October 29, 2012 | 12:29 pm

The rate of California prisoners committing new crimes after release has continued to drop, according to a report released Monday by the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The number of inmates who found themselves back behind bars within three years of release peaked in 2008, at 67.5%. According to Monday's updated report, just 63.7% of adults paroled in 2007 were found guilty of new crimes by 2010. That means that out of 116,000 inmates paroled, more than 75,000 committed new felony crimes that put them back in state prison. Data for more recent years were not available.

The report highlights the severity of the issue of revolving-door criminals in California. The recidivism rate among those with two or more prison stays is more than 75%. More than 16,000 of parolees who committed new felonies had been in CDCR custody 10 times or more.

The majority of those returning to prison did so within a year of release from parole.

The state measures recidivism by counting how many paroled felons return to state custody. Those numbers are bound to drop significantly with realignment, with new criteria for determining parole violations, and because tens of thousands of low-level offenders are now sent to county jails instead of state prison.

Los Angeles County had the lowest recidivism rate of any county in California. Just 54% of its parolees returned to prison. San Francisco County had the highest recidivism rate: almost 78% of parolees went back to prison.

Sex offenders had the highest rate of recidivism, though not for committing new sex-related crimes. Almost 87% of those who returned to prison wound up there because of parole violations. Almost 8% committed some other crime, 3.5% failed to register their address, and fewer than 2% were found guilty of a new sex offense.


Poll finds support to soften three-strikes law

Prop 36 seeks to ease state's three-strikes law

An odd conservative split on Props 34 and 36

--Paige St. John in Sacramento