Events / Neil A. Weiner Research Speaker Series

Criminal Justice Reform in California

Implications for Public Safety and Disparities in Involvement with the Criminal Justice System

Past Event
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018
12:30 PM — 1:30 PM
Vera Institute of Justice

For decades, California's incarceration rate moved in lock step with that of the nation, increasing nearly five-fold between the early 1970s and the mid-2000s. Between 2010 and the present, however, California's incarceration rate declined by nearly a quarter—to levels not seen since 1990. These changes were driven by a series of remarkable policy shifts stemming not only from pressure by federal courts to reduce overcrowding, but also from shifts in public opinion regarding the proper use of incarceration as a crime control tool. This talk will detail the policies driving incarceration changes in California, the manner in which the state reduced prison and jail populations, and the effects of these changes on state crime rates and racial disproportionality in the California's criminal justice system.

Steven Raphael is a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and holds the James D. Marver Chair at the Goldman School of Public Policy. His research focuses on the economics of low-wage labor markets, housing, and the economics of crime and corrections. His most recent research focuses on the social consequences of large increases in U.S. incarceration rates, as well as racial disparities in criminal justice outcomes. Raphael also works on immigration policy, racial inequality, the economics of labor unions, social insurance policies, homelessness, and low-income housing. He is the author (with Michael Stoll) of Why Are so Many Americans in Prison? and The New Scarlet Letter? Negotiating the U.S. Labor Market with a Criminal Record.