Groups look to find easier, cheaper was to find effects of prison realignment

Program set to start next year

BAKERSFIELD - The Public Policy Institute of California is teaming up with the board of state and community corrections to look into the effects of prison realignment.

Kern is one of the ten counties taking part in the pilot program.               

The Public Policy Institute of California is developing a pilot program aimed at tracking felons a little easier.

"The partnership came about as sort of a crisis in California.  We've incarcerated a whole bunch of people that we can no longer really fit them into our prison system.  The results of that is that it got sent back to the counties to help deal with this problem," said Dr. James Waterman, director of the Kern County Mental Health.

The board of state and community corrections not only tracks, but shares realignment data.  The problem is each county collects information differently.

“If there isn't somebody that's sort of outside the county level, we may be tracking one way and Fresno County may be tracking it a different way and then how do you say if this worked better than if you're tracking your stats in different ways," he said.

Leaders with the project say the goal is to use the statistics gathered to find a cheaper and more effective way to reduce crime around the state.

"It's not that complicated to collect data on who succeeds and who is re-incarcerated.  What kind of services that those people that did succeed get to help them to make it," said Waterman.

A recent California law changed some crimes to jail-only offenses helping many low-level felons avoid serving time in state prisons.

The pilot project, collecting data around the state is expected to be up and running next year.  

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