The Administrative Office of the Courts is involved in the administration of two community supervision initiatives that promote the use of evidence-based practices in the sentencing and supervising of felony offenders.
The Legislature designed the SB 678 program with two purposes: to alleviate state prison overcrowding and save state General Fund monies. These purposes are to be accomplished without compromising public safety by reducing the number of adult felony probationers who are sent to state prison for committing a new crime or violating the terms of county-supervised probation. The program is also designed to encourage county probation departments to use evidence-based supervision practices to accomplish these goals.
SB 678 established a system of performance-based funding that shares state General Fund savings with county probation departments that reduce their probation failure rate (PFR), defined in statute as the number of adult felony probationers who are revoked to state prison in a year as a percentage of the average probation population during the same period.
At the end of each calendar year the California Department of Finance (DOF) determines each probation department’s SB 678 funding allocation based on each county’s improvement in the PFR in comparison to their 2006–2008 baseline rate and the statewide average.
County probation departments must spend SB 678 funds on the implementation or enhancement of evidence-based practices, including, but not limited to, risk/needs assessment, use of graduated sanctions, and provision of evidence-based treatment modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
County allocations for each year of the SB 678 program can be found here:
• County Payment Information for Calendar Year 2012 (FY 2013-2014)
• County Payment Information for Calendar Year 2011 (FY 2012-2013)
• County Payment Information for Calendar Year 2010 (FY 2011-2012)
The SB 678 legislation mandates consistent monitoring and reporting of program implementation and requires county probation departments to report information on the use of evidence-based practices and probationer outcomes to the Administrative Office of the Courts to ensure the program is having its intended effect.
The following reports from the Administrative Office of the Courts and one from the Pew Center on the States provide information on implementation and program findings. In summary:
• In 2010, the first calendar year county probation departments implemented the SB 678 program, the average daily population in state prison dropped by 6,008 offenders. The state’s overall probation failure rate dropped from the 2006–2008 baseline rate of 7.9% to 6.1% in 2010, a 23% reduction.
• In both 2011 and 2012, the probation failure rate continued to decline. In 2012, the probation failure rate was 5.3%, a 33% reduction from the baseline.
• The effectiveness of California’s counties in reducing the number of probationers sent to state prison resulted in statewide savings of approximately $567 million over three years. County probation departments received approximately $322 million of these savings to further their use of evidence-based supervision practices.
Report on the California Community Corrections Performance Incentives Act of 2009: Findings from the SB 678 Program (April 2013)
This report to the California Legislature:
SB 678 Year 2 Report (July 2012)
This report examines the second year of SB 678 implementation (2011). It includes data that demonstrates how county probation departments have further reduced their probation failure rates, describes steps taken by probation departments to implement the use of evidence-based practices, and examines corresponding crime rates for the year.
Senate Bill 678 Year 1 Report ( June 2011)
This report examines the first year of implementation of SB 678 (2010). It includes data regarding the success of county probation departments in supervising adult felony probationers, examines corresponding crime rates for the year, and describes the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds by probation departments as well as the role of the Community Corrections Program of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The Impact of California’s Probation Performance Incentive Funding Program
Pew Center on the States, February 2012
The California Risk Assessment Pilot Project (CalRAPP) began in 2009 as a joint project of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the Chief Probation Officers of California, and is funded by the National Institute of Corrections and the State Justice Institute.
This pilot project, which takes place in four California counties (i.e., Napa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Yolo), is designed to explore the ways in which evidence-based practices (EBP), specifically offender risk and needs assessment information, can successfully be used in adult felony sentencing and violations of probation proceedings to reduce offender recidivism and improve offender accountability. Recidivism rates of offenders at baseline (i.e., prior to program implementation) will be compared to the recidivism rates of a similar group of offenders at a designated follow-up period (i.e., after EBP implementation).