Crime statistics vary by community and don’t always show cause and effect.
- Responding to pressure from federal courts to reduce prison overcrowding, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature enacted “realignment,” which diverted low-level felons into local jails and probation, thus dropping prison populations by about one-third via attrition;
- Proposition 47, passed by voters in 2014, reclassified many lower-level felonies as misdemeanors, thus keeping offenders out of state prison, and allowed inmates who committed the downgraded crimes to apply for release;
- Proposition 57, sponsored by Brown and passed by voters last year, makes it easier for felons deemed to have committed non-violent crimes—although there’s a continuing dispute over the definitions of those crimes—to obtain parole.