July 24, 2009
News materials distributed by the several law enforcement groups in California about the state's proposed budget have incorrectly cited RAND Corporation criminal justice research.
Those materials state: "Another study by the Rand Corp. ("Crime Costs and Public Policy," January 2009) found that the average prisoner on early release commits 13 new crimes before being re-arrested. Applying these numbers to California's early release programs equates to 170,000 new crimes and crime victims over the next 36 months."
The briefing referenced was a review of research done by others, and contains no calculation regarding the crimes that might be committed following early release of prisoners.
It appears the law enforcement groups may be using a number extrapolated from research about habitual criminal offenders done by RAND and other research groups during the 1970s. Among the information collected by those studies were estimates of the crimes committed by prisoners in the year prior to their incarceration. Those studies did not examine prisoners on early release.