By Alfred King, Journalism Guild Writer
Approximately 43% of people released from the San Francisco County Jail were rearrested within a three-year period, a new report reveals.
The data collected by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office tracked the recidivism rates of 9,407 people in the county jail, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Offenders who committed violent crimes, burglaries and other property crimes were even more likely to be rearrested, the data showed.
“Of the 965 people convicted of burglaries, 72% were rearrested and 45% were reconvicted. For the 882 people convicted of assault, 49% were arrested again and 21% were reconvicted. And convicted felony drug pushers were rearrested at a rate of 54%, with 20% of them convicted on a new charge,” the Chronicle reported Sept. 17.
Data collected followed adults convicted and sentenced for crimes in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Only 6% of 2,320 drunken drivers were rearrested within the same three-year period.
The goal is transparency, but it’s also a tool for policymakers to make better decisions and measure effectiveness, District Attorney George Gascon told the Chronicle.
Gascon said the data offers insight into law enforcement, community supervision and clinical strategies helping the justice system officials to use court and custody resources more efficiently.
“Other than public health, public safety is the biggest chunk of any local budget and we spend it without often knowing whether it will work or not, this could be the beginning of a different conversation.” said Gascon.
This data does not include offenders who are sentenced to California prison and was collected in concert with the Sheriff’s Department, the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley and the McArthur Foundation.
San Francisco sends the least number of people to California prisons, with less than 20% of felony convictions resulting in state prison.
“This innovative tool is a model for how cities and counties can use data to inform efforts to safely reduce the jail population and address racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system,” said Laurie Garduque, director of criminal justice at the McArthur Foundation.
San Francisco the first county in the state to collect data on recidivism rates.
This initiative “raises the bar for criminal justice transparency and we hope other jurisdictions follow suit,” said Evan White, executive director of the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley.