Fiscal Year 2015-16 Result: 3,365 active probationers
The number of total active probationers measures the number of individuals under the supervision of the Adult Probation Department (APD), as ordered by the courts, for felony or misdemeanor convictions. This measure can help inform the public and policymakers about the size of the population that is being served by the City and County in re-entering the community following incarceration, and/or involved in the criminal justice system, as well as about current trends in crime and sentencing.
THE NUMBER OF ACTIVE PROBATIONERS IN SAN FRANCISCO HAS STEADILY DECLINED SINCE 2012
How Adult Probation is Performing
The number of active probationers supervised by the Adult Probation Department has declined since 2009. This is due to several factors, including a department-wide effort to implement evidence-based practices in probation supervision and services, improve clients’ access to services and resources, target resources to the highest-risk clients, identify successful clients and provide them with opportunities for early termination of probation, and provide extensive training to probation officers.
In addition, county criminal justice agencies have collaborated to ensure that probation sentence lengths reflect an individual’s risk of recidivism, so that resources are targeted to those most at risk. Risk-based sentencing, implemented in May 2015, is expected to further reduce the probation caseload size, as sentence lengths become proportional to individuals’ risk of recidivism. Lastly, the county-wide trend of declining crime and felony sentences has led to fewer individuals being sentenced to probation, further reducing the APD caseload. As the number of active probationers declines and levels-off, the probationer-to-probation officer ratio will decline and come closer to standards, providing for more effective supervision and services for clients.
Several statewide polices have impacted the probation caseload size. A 2009 law (SB678) encouraged evidence based practices in probation supervision and incentivized reducing the number of probationers revoked to state prison. Referred to as a “High Performing County” in the early days of SB678 implementation for successfully reducing the number of probationers revoked to state prison, San Francisco continues this trend in 2016, underscoring the impact of implementing evidence-based practices that ultimately contributed to reducing the overall caseload size. In 2011, the state adopted a policy known as “realignment” (AB109), which transferred responsibility for individuals convicted of lower-level felony offenses from state to county supervision. San Francisco began to receive “realigned” individuals from the state starting in 2011, adding several hundred individuals to the APD caseload. However, even with the additional clients, the total APD caseload has continued to decrease due to declining crime trends and the initiatives described above.
How Performance is Measured
Probation supervision and sentencing information is entered and maintained in APD’s case management system. Clients who are on active supervision are marked as such in the system and data is extracted from the system monthly to produce the total active caseload count for the previous month. The caseload values in the chart above represent a point-in-time snapshot of active probationers each month. This snapshot is typically taken in the second half of each month.
The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the values in the chart above.
Learn more about San Francisco's Adult Probation Department.
Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.