Testifying on reduced crime penalties

Charis Kubrin

Professor Charis Kubrin appears before House Judiciary Committee

Professor Charis Kubrin testified July 13 on criminal justice reform in California and lessons learned before the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security.

Kubrin discussed her research on realignment and research she conducted with her graduate student Brad Bartos on Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure that reduced some drug and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. In her testimony, Kubrin summarized her research, concluding: “We can downsize our prisons without harming public safety.”

In a Governing Magazine article, Kubrin and Bartos wrote:

“In just a few years, the state has passed a series of legislative bills and ballot measures intended to reduce its massive prison population. One of them was Proposition 47, otherwise known as the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative.

“We recently published a study that was the first effort to systematically evaluate Prop 47's impact on crime in California. Our research found that the proposition had no appreciable impact on crime in the year following its enactment. Specifically, it had no effect on rates of homicide, rape, aggravated assault, robbery or burglary. Larceny and motor-vehicle thefts did seem to have increased moderately after Prop 47 went into effect, but these results were both sensitive to small changes in our modeling and small enough that we cannot rule out spuriousness.”