Joan Petersilia

Joan Petersilia
Stanford University | SU · Stanford Criminal Justice Center

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73
Publications
31,169
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Publications

Publications (73)
Conference Paper
The Brown v. Plata decision ordered California to reduce its prison population by 25%, forcing it to embark on a prison downsizing experiment of historical significance that transferred authority for large numbers of convicted felons from the state to its counties. Counties were given funding to deal with the increased number of offenders and broad...
Article
A confluence of factors — a perfect storm — interfered with the intractable rise of imprisonment and contributed to the emergence of a new sensibility defining continued mass imprisonment as non-sustainable. In this context, reducing America’s prisons has materialized as a viable possibility. For progressives who have long called for restraint in t...
Article
Passage of California’s Public Safety Realignment Act (AB 109) initiated the most sweeping correctional experiment in recent history. Launched on October 1, 2011, Realignment shifted responsibility for most lower-level offenders from the state to California’s 58 counties. By mid-2013, more than 100,000 felons had been diverted from state prison to...
Article
The California correctional system is undergoing a dramatic transformation under Assembly Bill 109 (“Realignment”), a law that shifted responsibility from the state to the counties for tens of thousands of offenders. To help manage this change, the state will distribute $4.4 billion to the counties by 2016-2017. While the legislation directs counti...
Article
California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act passed in 2011 shifted vast discretion for managing lower-level offenders from the state to the county, allocated over $2 billion in the first 2 years for local programs, and altered sentences for more than 100,000 offenders. Despite the fact that it is the biggest penal experiment in modern history, th...
Article
On October 2, 2011, Assembly Bill 109, the 2011 Public Safety Realignment, went into effect and comprehensively changed the way California manages its criminal justice system. AB 109 shifted the primary responsibility for managing non-serious, non-sexual, non-violent offenses to the counties, meaning that thousands of offenders are now serving thei...
Article
We consider the factors that shape venue sorting, the process by which a legal case can be handled through different organizational arrangements with distinct procedures, institutional cultures, and sanctioning constraints. The empirical area for our investigation of venue sorting is California's parole revocation system, in which parolees accused...
Article
Parolee deviance has emerged as a central issue in policy debates about crime and punishment in American society as well as in scholarship on “mass incarceration.” Although the prevailing approach to studying parolees conceives of parole violations as outcomes of individual propensities toward criminal behavior (i.e., criminogenic risk), we conside...
Article
We studied a sample of reentering parolees in California in 2005–2006 to examine whether the social structural context of the census tract, as well as nearby tracts, along with the relative physical closeness of social service providers affects serious recidivism resulting in imprisonment. We found that a 1 standard deviation increase in the presen...
Article
Full-text available
An understudied contributor to the massive growth of American incarceration is an increase in the practice of reimprisoning parolees through parole board revocations—now referred to as “back-end sentencing.” To conduct the analyses outlined in this article, we use data from the California Parole Study to analyze the effects of three clusters of fac...
Article
Full-text available
Criminologists bemoan their lack of influence on U.S. crime policy, believing that the justice system would be improved if their research findings were more central in decision making. I had an opportunity to test that notion as I participated in California’s historic attempt to reform its prisons over the past 4years. I became an embedded criminol...
Article
This study was undertaken to learn more about the allocation of treatment resources in a prison setting. Questions addressed were: How many inmates need particular types of treatment? What predicts participation in alcohol, drug, job training, and education programs? Are inmates with certain characteristics left out of programs? Are analysis relies...
Article
Rapidly expanding prison populations in California have brought a host of management challenges. One in seven state prisoners is housed there. California spends more than $9 billion a year on its correctional system, yet 66 percent of released inmates return to prison within 3 years. Prison assaults, homicide, and suicides are more common in Califo...
Article
This is the American Society of Criminology’s fiftieth year as a professional organization. In this signal year, I think it is appropriate to take stock of how far we have come and where we would like to go as an organization—and as a discipline.
Article
Every year, hundreds of thousands of jailed Americans leave prison and return to society. Largely uneducated, unskilled, often without family support, and with the stigma of a prison record hanging over them, many, if not most, will experience serious social and psychological problems after release. Fewer than one in three prisoners receive substan...
Article
Full-text available
Rates of violence and abuse perpetrated on people with developmental disabilities (e.g., mental retardation, autism) appear significantly higher than for people without these disabilities. Few of these crimes get reported to police, and even fewer are prosecuted because officials hesitate to pursue cases that rely onthe testimony of a personwith a...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in sentencing practices, coupled with a decrease in prison rehabilitation programs, have placed new demands on the U.S. parole system. Nearly 700,000 parolees are “doing time” on the streets. Most have been released to a parole system that provides few services and imposes conditions that almost guarantee failure. This article examines the...
Article
Full-text available
s. If drug trafficking is inherently violent, and if illicit drug use catalyzes criminal and other delinquent behavior (immediately as intoxication reduces inhibition and stimulates aggression, and in the longer term through the impacts of longterm substance abuse on character, lifestyle, and non-criminal opportunities), then it seems to follow tha...
Article
Full-text available
Reflecting unprecedented prison expansion, the scale of prisoner reentry has reached new heights. Although the movement of individuals from prison to community is not new, a focus on the phenomenon of reentry at this time sheds light on the consequences of America's shifting sentencing policies, the changes in parole supervision, and the concentrat...
Article
People with cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities are a small but increasing portion of offenders in the criminal justice system. People with developmental disabilities are estimated to comprise 2-3% of the general population, but 4-10% of the prison population, and an even higher percentage of those in juvenile facilities and in j...
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Full-text available
Discretionary parole release and parole field services have undergone major changes as the nation has embraced more punitive policies. Fourteen states have abolished discretionary parole release for all offenders, and twenty-one others severely limit its use. Parole supervision remains, but needed treatment programs are scarce, and parole officers...
Book
America's prison population has quadrupled in the past two decades, with an enormous impact on families, communities, correctional officers, policy makers, and prisoners themselves. The use of imprisonment as a means of social control has come to the fore in many public debates—whether the issues be deterrence, incapacitation, public spending, over...
Article
California correctional agencies handle an estimated 22,000 adults and juveniles with mental retardation (MR)—or 2% of all probationers and 4% of all those in custody. MR inmates in California are not usually identified or given specialized programming. A lawsuit, Clark and Woods v. California, was recently filed against the California Department o...
Article
This article presents results from two studies of Washington State's prison work release program conducted between 1991 and 1994. The first study analyzed a cohort of all male prisoners released from Washington prisons in 1990 (N = 2,452) to describe how work release operates and how successfully inmates perform in the program. The second study com...
Article
Crime prevention solutions coming out of Washington are politically attractive, but the author of this article explains that they are at odds with strategies advocated by practitioners, scholars, and numerous expert panels. Elected government officials have recently proposed spending more funds on prison construction at the expense of prevention pr...
Article
Full-text available
In 1990, Minnesota enacted legislation to implement an intensive community supervision program as an alternative both to prison and to routine parole. The National Institute of Justice funded RAND to evaluate the program. This article reports on two randomized field experiments designed to measure the implementation and impact of the programs. Deta...
Article
Full-text available
Proponents of the newer intermediate sanctions argue that there are “equivalencies” of punishment between community-based and prison sentences and that, at some level of intensity, community-based programs have roughly the same punitive “bite.” There is little research, however, on the relative severity of intensive supervision in comparison to oth...
Article
This article reports results from a recently completed randomized field experiment testing the effects of intensive supervision probation/parole (ISP) for drug-involved offenders. The ISP demonstration project, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, included five jurisdictions: Contra Costa, California; Seattle, Washington; Des Moines, Iowa; S...
Article
This article presents the results of a randomized experiment conducted to assess the effects of Intensive Supervision Parole (ISP), a Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles program whose primary objective was to help alleviate prison crowding. The evaluation assessed program implementation, as well as the program's impact on offenders and system costs....
Article
More than half of the suspects arrested for felonies in the United States are released. Are police failing to provide enough evidence for prosecution of these suspects? This article summarizes a study of 25 Los Angeles County police departments and concludes that although such a conclusion seems logical, case‐attrition patterns may not be a valid b...
Article
Data were analyzed for 11,553 California offenders who in 1980 were convicted of assault, robbery, burglary, theft, forgery, or drug crimes. Whether an offender was given probation or sentenced to prison for such crimes could be predicted with about 80 percent accuracy from a combination of variables that described defendant and crime characteristi...
Article
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has provided funding to jurisdictions across the nation to participate in an Intensive Supervision Probation/Parole Demonstration Project. The demonstration project is designed to be a field test of a model based on the Georgia Intensive Supervision Program (ISP), which essentially requires much closer control...
Article
This article reports on the six-month outcomes of a randomized experiment testing the effects of Intensive Supervision Programs (ISPs) in three California Counties (Contra Costa, Ventura, and Los Angeles). The findings show that ISP officers were able to intensify the monitoring of ISP offenders but were less successful at increasing services (e.g....
Article
Eleven jurisdictions across the country are participating in the Intensive Supervision Demon stration Projectfunded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The demonstration is designed to assess the effects — and costs — of sentencing convicted felons to community-based programs. One of the unique aspects of the project is that it involves rand...
Article
Although blacks compose only 12 percent of the national population, they account for almost 50 percent of the prison population. Many states have adopted the use of guidelines for sentencing, parole, and decisions concerning the level of probationer supervision. Some argue that use of certain factors in guidelines systematically adversely affects m...
Article
This article summarizes the major findings of a recent Rand study designed to discover whether felony probation presents unacceptable risks for public safety and, if so, what the system could do to overcome those risks. To this end, it sought to establish how effective probation has been for a sample of felony probationers, identify the criteria co...
Article
Full-text available
This article summarizes a comprehensive examination of racial discrimination in the criminal justice systems of California, Michigan, and Texas. In each of those states, judges typically imposed heavier sentences on Hispanics and blacks than on whites convicted of comparable felonies and who had similar criminal records. Not only did these minoriti...
Article
A criminal career may consist of a single, undiscovered, venial lapse or a high level of sustained involvement in serious crime. Modern criminal career research derives largely from policy concerns about the likely crime preventive effects of incapacitative sanctions. Consequently, criminal career research tends to be more concerned with sustained...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of California, Irvine, 1990. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 133-140). Microfiche.

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