California Penal Code Section 17.5

CA Penal Code § 17.5 (2017)  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) The Legislature reaffirms its commitment to reducing recidivism among criminal offenders.

(2) Despite the dramatic increase in corrections spending over the past two decades, national reincarceration rates for people released from prison remain unchanged or have worsened. National data show that about 40 percent of released individuals are reincarcerated within three years. In California, the recidivism rate for persons who have served time in prison is even greater than the national average.

(3) Criminal justice policies that rely on building and operating more prisons to address community safety concerns are not sustainable, and will not result in improved public safety.

(4) California must reinvest its criminal justice resources to support community-based corrections programs and evidence-based practices that will achieve improved public safety returns on this state’s substantial investment in its criminal justice system.

(5) Realigning low-level felony offenders who do not have prior convictions for serious, violent, or sex offenses to locally run community-based corrections programs, which are strengthened through community-based punishment, evidence-based practices, improved supervision strategies, and enhanced secured capacity, will improve public safety outcomes among adult felons and facilitate their reintegration back into society.

(6) Community-based corrections programs require a partnership between local public safety entities and the county to provide and expand the use of community-based punishment for low-level offender populations. Each county’s Local Community Corrections Partnership, as established in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1230, should play a critical role in developing programs and ensuring appropriate outcomes for low-level offenders.

(7) Fiscal policy and correctional practices should align to promote a justice reinvestment strategy that fits each county. “Justice reinvestment” is a data-driven approach to reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending and reinvest savings in strategies designed to increase public safety. The purpose of justice reinvestment is to manage and allocate criminal justice populations more cost-effectively, generating savings that can be reinvested in evidence-based strategies that increase public safety while holding offenders accountable.

(8) “Community-based punishment” means correctional sanctions and programming encompassing a range of custodial and noncustodial responses to criminal or noncompliant offender activity. Community-based punishment may be provided by local public safety entities directly or through community-based public or private correctional service providers, and include, but are not limited to, the following:

(A) Short-term flash incarceration in jail for a period of not more than 10 days.

(B) Intensive community supervision.

(C) Home detention with electronic monitoring or GPS monitoring.

(D) Mandatory community service.

(E) Restorative justice programs such as mandatory victim restitution and victim-offender reconciliation.

(F) Work, training, or education in a furlough program pursuant to Section 1208.

(G) Work, in lieu of confinement, in a work release program pursuant to Section 4024.2.

(H) Day reporting.

(I) Mandatory residential or nonresidential substance abuse treatment programs.

(J) Mandatory random drug testing.

(K) Mother-infant care programs.

(L) Community-based residential programs offering structure, supervision, drug treatment, alcohol treatment, literacy programming, employment counseling, psychological counseling, mental health treatment, or any combination of these and other interventions.

(9) “Evidence-based practices” refers to supervision policies, procedures, programs, and practices demonstrated by scientific research to reduce recidivism among individuals under probation, parole, or post release supervision.

(b) The provisions of this act are not intended to alleviate state prison overcrowding.

(Amended (as added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 15) by Stats. 2011, Ch. 39, Sec. 5. (AB 117) Effective June 30, 2011. Addition and amendment operative October 1, 2011, pursuant to Secs. 68 and 69 of Ch. 39.)

Last modified: October 25, 2018