Arrest rates in California are at a record low, declining by an average of 48% from 1995 levels, a recent study reports.
“Overall arrest rates have fallen 26% since before the start of the justice reform era in 2010,” according to the January fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana accounted for more than one-fifths of the decline, approximately 66,000 out of 303,000 arrests.
The most prominent change occurred within the youth, falling by 87% for ages 10-14, 83% for ages 15-17, and 79% for ages 18-19 from 1995 to 2018.
In 2010, the youth arrest rates were 4,445 arrests per 100,000 population and 4,807 adult arrests per 100,000. By 2018, the youth arrest rate had declined to a quarter of the adult rate at 1,113 youth arrests per 100,000 to 3,894 adult arrests.
The figures were released by the California Department of Justice.
By county, 45 of California’s 58 counties report decline in arrest rates, with one-fifths reporting increases. However, all counties except Alpine reported declines in youth arrest rates. Furthermore, “arrest declines are greatest in regions with lower incarceration rates.”
All age groups declined in arrest rates except for those aged 30-39. They increased by 11% from 5,160 arrests per 100,000 in 2010 to 5,714 in 2018.
The author, Mike Males, suggested that this increase correlates with drug overdose deaths and homicides, perhaps warranting “a need for services among Californians in middle adulthood.”