Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Are public policy goals being achieved in California?

Most of our Roseville readers know that being charged with a crime that involves drugs or a gun is likely to be a felony charge. Indeed, many police officers would probably tell our readers that where they find one the other is usually present. There is no denying the danger these two items can present to society when they fall into the wrong hands, which is why the public policy in California is slanted toward more serious punishment for a suspect who ends up being convicted of a felony-level crime. This message, perhaps, is getting through.

According to a recent report, the recidivism rate for felony-level offenders in California has been on a steady decline. While it may seem high, the recently released 61 percent recidivism rate is actually lower than 63.7 percent rate from the previous year.

Researching the recidivism rate is pretty much the primary way policy makers can determine whether or not the criminal justice system is functioning. For instance, when an offender is placed on probation or released from prison onto parole supervision, that offender may be required to complete a number of special conditions in order to successfully complete their term of supervision. These special conditions often include programs designed to educate an offender, such as substance abuse treatment. But, no matter what the program, the main goal is usually to reduce that chance that the offender who is the focus on the program will recidivate.

The fact that the recidivism rate in California is declining is good news. However, gun control legislation and other efforts to police illegal activity can at times seem like too much restriction. The pushback from the public is another way policy makers can determine whether their proposed efforts might be going too far.

Source: Rocklin and Roseville Today, "California's Recidivism Rate Declines Again," Jan. 15, 2014

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