Yolo County District Attorney Releases Report on Neighborhood Court

Report shows 4.8 % recidivism rate for misdemeanor offenses

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) – May 25, 2018 - District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced the publication of a new report providing comprehensive analysis and outcomes of a recidivism check for Neighborhood Court participants conducted in December, 2017. The study includes 640 program participants diverted through Neighborhood Court for a misdemeanor level offense. According to data collected in the state of California’s Criminal Index Inquiry (CII) system, which contains criminal offenses logged by law enforcement agencies throughout the state, only 4.8% of Neighborhood Court participants were rearrested within the first year after completing the program.

Neighborhood Court (NHC) is an innovative diversion program based on the principles of restorative justice. The program, which offers an alternative to criminal court, has been in operation since June of 2013. Rather than pursuing a case for criminal prosecution, the District Attorney’s Office refers certain misdemeanors and infractions to Neighborhood Court. NHC provides individualized outcomes for these cases; outcomes designed to educate and address the underlying causes of criminal misconduct while prioritizing the acceptance of responsibility and reparation of harms to the community and any direct victims affected.

Although Neighborhood Court originally began as a pilot project in the city of Davis focusing primarily on infraction level offenses (Noise Complaint, Open Container, and Public Urination violations), since 2013 the program has gradually transitioned to a caseload that consists of misdemeanor charges such as, Battery, Public Intoxication, Petty Theft, Vandalism, Trespassing, Minor in Possession, Resisting Arrest, and other various offenses. The full list of qualifying offenses can be found here: https://yoloda.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Common-Qualifying-Offenses_20150722.pdf.

The percentage of misdemeanor charges accepted into the program has steadily increased over the years. In 2016, 80% of cases diverted through Neighborhood Court were misdemeanor level charges. The report also found that Neighborhood Court, initially intended for first-time offenders, has expanded to include individuals with more substantive criminal histories over the past few years. 25% of program participants in 2016 had one or more prior arrests recorded on the CII.

The study also found high rates of program completion, with 92% of participants successfully graduating from Neighborhood Court. Since 2013, Neighborhood Court has resolved over 1,400 criminal cases. The program receives support from over 200 citizen volunteers throughout Yolo County.

“This report verifies the positive impact that our Neighborhood Court program is having in Yolo County. The program’s success is something that our office is very proud of, and we will continue to take incremental steps to expand Neighborhood Court and offer diversion opportunities to a wider variety of individuals,” District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated.

To read the full report, visit: https://yoloda.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/NHC-Recidivism-Report.pdf. For more information about the Neighborhood Court program or to sign up as a volunteer, please visit http://www.yolo.org/nc. You may also contact the program staff directly by e-mail at neighborhoodcourt@yolocounty.org or by phone at (530) 666-8395.