Proposition 47 Grant Program Evaluation Shows Recidivism Cut

SACRAMENTO (February 15, 2024) – A comprehensive evaluation of the Board of State and Community Corrections’ Proposition 47 grant program suggests participants who received services made available by the 2014 voter-approved initiative are substantially less likely to recidivate compared to those traditionally incarcerated in California.

The evaluation of the second cohort of grantees — public agencies that provide mental health services, substance use disorder treatment and/or diversion programs for those in the criminal justice system — showed positive results. Participants who enrolled in grant-funded services made available by Prop 47 had a recidivism rate of 15.3 percent, which is more than two times lower than those traditionally incarcerated by the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (CDCR). CDCR’s recidivism estimates range from 35 to 45 percent, with overall recidivism declining. While other published recidivism rates for California provide a point of comparison, it is important to note that these may not provide an equivalent comparison group, due to differences in criminal history and the way recidivism is defined.

“These results continue to indicate that Prop 47 is delivering the results voters demanded — safer communities where individuals who commit low-level crimes are directed to housing, employment, mental health and substance use services instead of prison sentences,” said Chair of the Board of State and Community Corrections Linda Penner. “California should continue to build on this progress — investing in efforts that are effective in both reducing incarceration and improving public safety.”

Local programs funded by the grant also achieved increases in housing and employment goals. For participants experiencing homelessness, those who completed program requirements experienced a 60 percent reduction in homelessness. Participants who identified employment as a goal and completed program requirements, experienced a 50 percent reduction in unemployment, although most employment gains were in part-time employment.

ABOUT THE PROPOSITION 47 GRANT PROGRAM: Prop 47 was a voter-approved initiative on the November 2014 ballot that reduced from felonies to misdemeanors specified low-level drug and property crimes. Each year, the state savings generated by the implementation of Prop 47 are deposited into the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund. Sixty-five percent of these savings are set aside annually for the BSCC to administer a competitive grant program. In the second round of funding, 21 grantees received almost $93 million to provide mental health treatment, substance-use disorder treatment, housing, job training, legal services and case management. The grant projects began in August 2019 and ended May 15, 2023.

A third cohort of Prop 47 grant, with $143 million in funding, is underway and ends in March 2026, with final evaluation reports due in June 2026. The BSCC anticipates releasing the request for proposals for a planned fourth round of funding by July 2024.

ABOUT THE EVALUATION: Over the course of this grant, 21,706 participants received services. Under Prop 47, many of the participants were diverted away from jail to community-based programs that were able to address their mental health and substance-abuse needs. Read the Proposition 47 Cohort II Statewide Evaluation Report.

For more information about the Proposition 47 grant program and who receives local funding go to the Proposition 47 Page.

The BSCC provides services to the county adult and juvenile system through inspections of local detention facilities, setting minimum standards for facility operations and training standards for local correctional staff, and administers a wide range of grant programs.

For more information, please contact Colleen Curtin at