Campus: CSU Sacramento -- September 24, 2001
California Institute for Country Government (CSUS) reports:
Probation Efforts Linked to Lower Crime
Probation is a relatively inexpensive and effective way of reducing crime,
according to a new analysis of all 58 California counties carried out
by the California Institute for County Government. The institute is affiliated
with the Center for California Studies at California State University,
In a report titled "Does Probation Work?" researchers with the
institute conclude that stronger probation efforts help reduce crime.
The report links lower probation caseloads with lower property crime rates,
and higher caseloads with higher property crime rates.
The authors speculate that "as supervision levels decrease, the opportunities
to re-offend increase. In addition, very high caseloads are likely associated
with diminished access to other probation related activities, such as
drug treatment and job training services
The logical implication
for public policy is that probation caseloads ought to be reduced wherever
The report also ties lower crime rates with greater per-capita law enforcement
spending, per-capita jail population and arrest rates.
California, like much of the nation, sentences more offenders to probation
than any other sanction. The use of probation has increased dramatically
in the last decade, largely because it is about five times less expensive
than jail and 19 times less expensive than state prison. However, little
research has been conducted on whether probation is effective in protecting
The California Institute for County Government studies county policy and
fiscal issues and offers consulting to county government. It publishes
occasional reports and maintains extensive county statistical information,
much of which is available on its website.
Copies of "Does Probation Work?" and additional information
are available by contacting the institute's director, Matthew Newman,
at (916) 324-0796, sending an e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the institute's website at www.cicg.org.
Additional media assistance is available by contacting CSUS public affairs
at (916) 278-6156