State Fact Sheet

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Santa Barbara County

A 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling required California to resolve its overcrowded prison system. In response, Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed into law Assembly Bill 109, establishing a set of policies that are commonly referred to as Realignment. This legislation transferred responsibility for more than 60,000 low-risk inmates from the state to its 58 counties and required them to develop facilities, policies, and programs to serve this population. To help identify the most effective and cost-beneficial adult criminal justice programs, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative partnered with California counties to implement the Results First approach at the local government level.


Santa Barbara County has a long history of participating in national evidence-based initiatives, such as Transition From Jail to Community, that have enabled criminal justice stakeholders to assess systemwide challenges and develop effective solutions. Building on this demonstrated commitment, Santa Barbara officials were the first to express interest in using the Results First approach. In August 2013, the board of supervisors formally invited Results First to partner with the county to ensure fiscal responsibility, responsiveness, accountability to the community, and recidivism reduction. This approach and the jurisdiction-specific cost-benefit tool will help inform program recommendations for the board to use during budget deliberations.


The Santa Barbara Results First model is housed within the Community Corrections Partnership, led by the county Probation Department and the chief probation officer. Members of the partnership executed memorandums of understanding among stakeholder agencies to formalize the membership, timelines, and deliverables for the project’s working group. The deputy chief probation officer oversees the development of the Santa Barbara Results First work and guides a technical team that includes leadership and staff from the Probation Department; Superior Court; the offices of the public defender, district attorney, and sheriff; and area police departments.

Cost-benefit findings

The team has completed development of the model and has presented preliminary findings to the Santa Barbara Community Corrections Partnership. In December 2014, the team released its first report, which outlined the rate and cost of recidivism in the county and highlighted several program options that could save money and reduce recidivism. It presented a comprehensive report to the board of supervisors in winter 2015. Additional information on the findings is detailed in the county’s fiscal year 2015-16 Realignment Report.

Next steps

The county plans to use Results First as an organizing principle for long-term strategic planning, such as requiring that all contracts with community-based organizations include training on effective practices and prioritizing grants for proven programs. The county’s Jail Planning Group is already using the Results First Clearinghouse Database to inform development of a portfolio of evidence-based programs that could be offered at a new jail, set to open in 2018. The Results First work will also inform decision-making about investments in effective programs for high-risk offenders.