Jerry Brown Lowballing Prop 47 Savings?

Lowballing Prop 47 SavingsCalifornia’s crime rate bottomed out last year and began to rise again, some law enforcement leaders and elected officials complained that they had been misled. All those programs they had been promised that were supposed to help addicts and former inmates reenter society safely, without committing new crimes, had failed to materialize.

Consider, for example, this assertion by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in his State of the City speech in April:

“The safety net that was supposed to come with criminal justice reform? It’s simply not there.”

The problem is not that the money is late — it’s not — but rather that Gov. Jerry Brown may be lowballing the actual savings figure.

The implication is that someone, somewhere, had failed to follow through on a commitment. Local leaders point increasingly to Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure that reclassified certain drug possession crimes and several property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors — and required the savings recouped by the state prison system, by no longer having to house so many felons, to be reallocated to anti-recidivism, education and victim services programs.

In fact, Proposition 47 is right on schedule, and local leaders know it. The state calculates prison savings on an annual basis, and the first full year under the ballot measure does not end until June 30. Counties and cities will then submit their requests, and funds will begin flowing later this year.

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Los Angeles Times Editorial Board