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Research Questions

  1. What were the key implementation challenges experienced by the programs, and how did prosecutors and public defenders overcome these barriers?
  2. What are the characteristics of cases identified for possible resentencing at each stage of the resentencing process?

The California County Resentencing Pilot Program was established to support and evaluate a collaborative approach to exercising prosecutorial resentencing discretion. The first of three reports, this evaluation seeks to determine how the pilot program is implemented in each of the nine participating counties and what the characteristics are of a possible candidate for resentencing.

This report describes the pilot, evaluation methods, initial findings based on stakeholder interviews, and analysis of pilot data. Qualitative interviews reveal key strengths and challenges of the pilot in its implementation. Analyses of quantitative data describe the population of individuals considered for resentencing. Together, these findings shed light on the early experiences of the nine counties implementing this important pilot program.

Key Findings

  • Implementation challenges include developing eligibility criteria, acquiring and analyzing data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to identify individuals who met eligibility criteria, working with the individuals to facilitate preparation of their application and supporting documents, identifying and hiring community-based organizations (CBO)s, and working with the courts to develop processes and procedures for making referrals to the courts.
  • Except for a few counties, most of the DA and PD offices did not have a history of working closely together and are still developing that collaboration.
  • Across the nine pilot counties, the initial cases reviewed tended to involve individuals who were over the age of 50. The controlling offense most often involved a crime against persons. Nearly half of the cases reviewed involved third-strike sentences, and nearly three-fourths of reviewed cases had a sentence enhancement present.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the California State Legislature and conducted in the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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