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Study Says Inmates Released Under Prop. 36 Have Low Recidivism Rate

Publication Date: 
April 04, 2014
Daily Journal
Hamed Aleaziz

Michael Romano, director of SLS' Three Strikes Project, weighs in on the lasting effects of Prop 36 for The Daily Journal. 

Inmates released under a 2012 voter initiative to soften California's three-strikes law have dramatically lower recidivism rates than other ex-convicts, a new study shows.

"The recidivism data from the [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] shows that prisoners released under Proposition 36 are the safest people to release from prison under any metric, by a lot," said Michael Romano. He is director of Stanford's Three Strikes Project, which has pushed for reform and released the study.


"The Prop. 36 campaign was premised on the fact that these people were not a danger to public safety," Romano said, "and this recidivism data is showing proof of the concept."

Inmates released under the law are generally older, have been in prison for years, and were convicted of nonviolent crimes, all factors which are associated with lower rates of recidivism, Romano said.

There's also the fact that the inmates go through an individualized court process to determine their degree of risk to public safety before being released, he said.