Current Projects

The Center for Evidence-Based Corrections is currently working on the following research:

Arts in Corrections

The Center for Evidence-Based Corrections is currently collaborating with researchers and practitioners at the William James Association, the University of San Francisco, and the University of California, San Diego in utilizing an evidence-based approach to understanding the implementation and effectiveness of Arts in Corrections (AIC).  This effort is timely as AIC funding has recently been restored in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) after a hiatus of a number of years.  Policy makers and observers will be asking whether AIC is an effective investment in CDCR’s toolkit of rehabilitation programming.

Housing, Employment, and Linking (HEAL) Services

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) is introducing the Housing, Employment and Linking services to reduce female recidivism (HEAL) initiative.  HEAL integrates programming, services and supervision for female offenders as they are released from an institution and enter into a period of parole supervision. HEAL recognizes that a gender responsive and trauma informed approach to supervision is likely to produce better outcomes.  As such, all parole agents will receive training in the area of gender responsivity.  In addition, specialized female offender caseloads will be piloted.

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Recidivism Study

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is mandated to publish a series of annual reports on the outcomes of offenders released from their institutions. The Outcome Evaluation Report focuses on the rate of recidivism of adults released from CDCR using a three-year follow-up period. The CDCR is also mandated to release similar recidivism findings from their population of offenders exiting the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) custody. The last known recidivism report on the DJJ population was the 2012 Outcome Evaluation Report that included the recidivism rates of the cohort of juvenile offenders released from custody FY 2007-2008. The purpose of this project is to determine the rate of recidivism of the cohorts released from the DJJ institutions in FY 2008-2009, FY 2009-2010, FY 2010-2011, and 2011-2012. Then, the data will be analyzed for the causes and correlations of recidivism in the DJJ release population.

Recalibration of the California Static Risk Assessment

Prior work on the California Static Risk Assessment (CSRA) included the development of a risk assessment instrument using automated DOJ data provided to the CEBC by CDCR.  Outcome variables were three separate conviction variables: 1) conviction of a felony; 2) conviction for a property or violent felony; and 3) conviction for a violent offense. Initial work was focused on the development and validation of the tool.  The second wave of work tested alternative functions/algorithms  for the tool, tested extensions and modifications to the automated scoring program to improve charge and sentence recovery, mapping table extensions, among other tasks.  Future work shall test changes and make recommendations to the tool based on the new population under supervision by CDCR resulting from realignment.

Realignment Collaboration with Public Policy Institute of California

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is initiating a new multi-county project to identify the most effective and efficient practices under California’s public safety realignment.  PPIC is interested in working with the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to document county activities and analyze outcomes across a set of key performance measures.  The ultimate goals of the project are to identify the sanctions, interventions and services that are most effective for reducing recidivism and to provide the necessary information for counties to plan further steps to reduce criminal justice costs while maintaining public safety.  PPIC intends to develop a set of data collection procedures that will aid BSCC in the reporting of progress on the implementation of realignment and which will be scalable to other counties in the State.  Moreover, the data gathered in this project will aid the participating counties by providing them with the ability to better gauge the effectiveness of their practices and it will aid policymakers, county program evaluators, and other researchers in evaluating the statewide impact of realignment.

Fiscal Challenges in State Correctional Systems: A National Study of Prison Closings and Alternative Strategies

The University of California, Irvine (UCI), RAND, and three other institutions are joining in a collaborative effort for this study.  This research requires the development of a survey to be administered via the web to heads of each of the 50 states heads of corrections.  The surveys will identify the fiscal pressures under which states are operating, policies and practices that have been adopted to deal with budget crises, including closing prisons, reducing staff and programs, changes in state sentencing structures as well as mechanisms affecting the “back end” of corrections, including parole services and revocation policies.  Background data on the current and recent budget situation for each state will be collected from public records.  Based on findings from the survey and budget situation, the project team will select 6 states that have shown innovative ways to deal with correctional shortfalls.  3-day site visits will be conducted with teams of between 2 and 3 members representing the project team organizations.  A separate task will map the strategies revealed from the surveys and site visits with current best practices in the field.  Finally a short-term economic analysis will be conducted, as well as the development of a protocol for estimating long term impacts of policies on crime and costs for states.

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