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OC Register: Which Path Will California Take on Criminal Justice?

Last holiday season, cities in California reported increased organized retail theft, as shocking videos of “smash and grab” robberies circulated widely on social media.

Mass shooting events are still too common, including the tragic incident near the state’s Capitol just weeks ago. Searching for the causes, many across the state are eager to blame the past decade of criminal justice reforms and prison-downsizing efforts more generally — including those intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 — which significantly reduced the size and scope of California’s correctional system. But is this blame misplaced? How are these reforms and crime connected, if at all?

Can we downsize our prisons and jails without compromising public safety?

Perhaps more than any other state, California is immersed in a period of fundamental reform to its criminal justice system.

Read the full OpEd here.