1 out of 5 arrested is someone on parole or probation, California study finds

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One out of every five people arrested is on parole or probation — a lower number than law enforcement expected — according to a newly published study.

Researchers examined to what extent people on parole or probation contribute to crime (as measured by arrests).

They used data from Los Angeles, Redlands, Sacramento and San Francisco police over more than three years, ending in June 2011.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization based in Kentucky, found:

  • The majority of adult felony and misdemeanor arrests (77%) involved people who were not under supervision.
  • When looking only at drug violations, one out of every three people arrested was on probation or parole.
  • Total arrests fell by 18 percent. Meanwhile, the number parolees arrested fell 61 percent, and people on probation declined 26 percent.

The data shows there’s a “small fraction” of parolees who are “contributing disproportionately to drug-related crime,” Redlands Police Chief Mark Garcia said this week in a news statement about the study.

As a whole, though, Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel said:

“Our assumption has been that people under probation and parole were driving our arrest activity, but the data suggests otherwise,” he said.

“This new information opens up opportunities for law enforcement agencies, which are grappling with huge budget cuts, to work with partners in probation and parole to be more efficient and targeted in our prevention, intervention, and enforcement efforts.”

The study was paid for by the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Fund for Nonviolence and the Rosenberg Foundation.

 

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One in seven drivers has drugs in their system, California Office of Traffic Safety finds

One in every seven weekend drivers had drugs in their system, according to the first-ever statewide survey of alcohol and drugs in drivers.

The California Office of Traffic Safety announced its survey results Monday. It concluded 14 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs, nearly double the 7.3 percent of drivers who had alcohol in their system.

About half the drugs — 7.4 percent of drivers, or just more than those with alcohol — were marijuana, while 4.6 percent of drivers tested positive for prescription or over-the-counter medications that can impair driving.

“Drug-impaired driving is often under-reported and under-recognized and toxicology testing is expensive,” the state agency wrote in a press release, which continues:

“This federally funded survey is the first of its kind ever undertaken by a state,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “These results reinforce our belief that driving after consuming potentially impairing drugs is a serious and growing problem.”

It’s important to note that the OTS campaigns for drugged driving to receive the same national attention drunk driving does, and that the results came from drivers who voluntarily agreed to be tested.

More than 1,300 drivers agreed to provide breath and/or saliva samples at roadside locations. They were set up in nine unspecified California cities between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Under a new law, the specific kinds of DUI — alcohol, drugs or some combination of the two — will be categorized under separate violations, meaning it will be easier to track DUI arrests.

Marijuana arrests happen every 42 seconds, analysis of FBI data shows

A total 12,408,899 people were arrested last year — with one marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds, according to analysis of FBI statistics released last week.

The No. 1 arrest charge in the U.S. was drug abuse violations. More than 81 percent of the 1,531,251  arrests stemmed from possession, while the remainder were for sales and manufacturing.

Marijuana possession made up 660,000 arrests, or or 43.3 percent of all arrests under the drug abuse violations category.

Counting all drugs, not just marijuana, police made one drug arrest every 21 seconds, according to analysis from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. LEAP is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group  comprised mostly of law enforcement, judges and prosecutors.

“Even excluding the costs involved for later trying and then imprisoning these people, taxpayers are spending between $1.5 – to $3 billion just on the police and court time involved in making these arrests,” said LEAP executive director Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics officer.

Overall, the number of total arrests and the number of drug abuse arrests continues to drop annually. The top three arrest charges remained the same, though larceny-theft moved ahead of DUI arrests in 2011:

  1. Drug abuse violations: 1,531,251 arrests in 2011 (a 6.6 percent drop from 2010)
  2. Larceny-theft: 1,264,986 arrests (a 0.5 percent increase)
  3. Driving under the influence: 1,215,077 arrests (a 14 percent decrease)

See the 2011 nationwide arrest data here. See the data broken down by state here. See more analysis of the data from the FBI here.