Males, Mike


Killing by California Law Enforcement: It Is What You Think (Part II)

By Mike Males

Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice

The previous blog reported CJCJ’s surprising finding that the communities where people are most likely to be shot to death by law enforcement are not stereotypically mean-street cities such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Compton, or Salinas, but remote towns like Eureka, Desert Hot Springs, Vista, and Moreno Valley.

However, when it comes to who officers kill, California’s pattern looks like the rest of the country’s. Table 1’s summary of 13 years of officer-involved killings in California shows familiar risks.

Killing by Law Enforcement in California: It's Not What You Think (Part I)

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Who do cops shoot in California? The most powerful, tragic images are of young African Americans like Oscar Grant in 2009 and Ezell Ford last August, victims of harsh policing in racially segregated and underserved areas like east Oakland and south central Los Angeles. Yet in remote towns like Eureka and a cluster in the southern deserts (Desert Hot Springs, Vista, Perris, Hemet, and Indio), people are much more likely to be killed by officers — not just in per capita rates, but often in raw numbers.

Where Black Teens And White Middle-Agers Get Equally Busted For Drugs

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

In 1986, more than 8,000 black teenagers were arrested across Los Angeles County for drug offenses. After a steady, steep decline, that number fell to just 400 in 2013. Meanwhile, drug arrests of L.A.’s white middle-agers more than doubled. From the peak arrest year (1986) to the present, a huge shift in racial patterns has emerged:

Marijuana Legalizers Should Move Debate Forwards, Not Backwards

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

At a time when California's spectacular success in reducing marijuana arrests ranks second best in the entire country, supporters of legalizing marijuana can contribute to further progress by jettisoning obsolete arguments that create unwarranted fears of young people.

Why Statistical Bigotry Is Just Bigotry

By Mike Males

Center for Juvenile & Criminal Justice

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson’s March 28 column rationalized the fact that 62% of the Oakland Police Department’s traffic stops involve African Americans (just 28% of the city’s population) because blacks commit the overwhelming majority of the city’s serious crime. This latest example of penalizing “driving while black” is a classic case of what I call statistical bigotry.

California's Radical De-Incarceration Experiment

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

California has undertaken two gigantic experiments in de-incarceration, one of youths and the other adults. They were largely forced on the state by court mandates and budget constraints—but also by some key policy changes.

The first experiment is so radical that even the most progressive reformers could never have envisioned it. California has all but abolished state imprisonment and has sharply reduced local incarceration of youths to the lowest levels ever recorded—by far.

California Counties, Realignment, and Crime Trends: 58 Different Stories

By Mike Males

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

California prisons hold around 30,000 fewer inmates today than 30 months ago, the result of AB 109’s Public Safety Realignment. Realignment mandated that as of October 1, 2011, tens of thousands of non-violent, lower-level offenders who formerly would have been sent to state prison must be “realigned” to local criminal justice systems.

Reform Cuts Marijuana Possession Arrests 86% in 2011, Upends California Drug Policing

By Mike Males

Just-released 2011 arrest statistics from the state Criminal Justice Statistics Center show that pioneering legislation downgrading simple marijuana possession from a criminal offense into an infraction - an effort to deter passage of Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana outright - has detonated a revolution in California drug-law enforcement.

California's new arrest figures read like something out of a drug policy reformer's dream - but with unexpected twists (see graphics). Arrests for marijuana possession plummeted by 86%, from 54,900 in 2010 to 7,800 in 2011, abruptly reversing a two-decade trend of increasing marijuana misdemeanor arrests and returning numbers to levels not seen since before the Summer of Love.

For California Prison Realignment Hype, Scary Tales Deserve Skepticism

By Mike Males and Barry Krisberg

Over the last 30 years, California has created an oversized, overcrowded prison system entailing billions of dollars in taxpayer expense, endless safety and health crises, a dismal record of rehabilitation, and increasingly proscriptive court orders to regulate almost all aspects of prison operations.

One major reason for this crisis is that a number of counties were over-relying on the state system by sending thousands of lower-level property and drug offenders to prison. California's legislature and governor had no choice but to cut prisoner numbers. They mandated that counties, as of October 1, 2011, could no longer send offenders to state prison unless they were convicted of serious, violent, or sex crimes.