California started using a new program in 2007 to help lower the rate of recidivism in San Jose and throughout the state. Recidivism occurs when an ex-convict commits another crime after release from prison. Since 2007 and 2008, California's rate of re-arrests dropped nearly 4 percentage points to less than 64 percent.
Many crimes, especially drug possession charges, involve harsher penalties when a defendant has prior convictions on his or her record. This new study suggests that California's approach has helped many defendants avoid those penalties.