A study that tracked California parolees has found no spike in arrests since responsibility for many ex-convicts shifted to local authorities under the state's prison realignment law.

Corrections department researchers found that ex-felons were arrested at a slightly lower rate since the new law took effect in Oct. 2011. They were convicted of new crimes at about the same rate as offenders released under the old criminal justice system.

The report released Thursday adds to an ongoing debate over whether the law enacted to reduce prison crowding is leading to higher crime in communities. Under the law, thousands of lower-level offenders are sentenced to county jails instead of state prisons.

The researchers tracked offenders who were released from prison in the six months after the law took effect.