With Prop. 47 Funds, Communities Can Move from Punishment to Prevention

Earlier this month, California reached an important milestone in its fight against mass incarceration: $103 million was awarded to local public agencies to expand mental health, addiction treatment and support services for those returning home from prison. These programs will soon be available thanks to Proposition 47, which voters approved in 2014 to bring common sense back to the justice system. California stopped sending people to state prison for low-level offenses like drug possession, … [Read more...]

Less on Prisons, More on Prevention? California Starts the Shift

Two and a half years after 60 percent of Californians voted for Proposition 47, the initiative is coming to a head. The measure reduced nonviolent drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and reallocated the money saved into programs for mental health, substance abuse treatment, victim services and truancy prevention. Now the money is finally going somewhere, and it’s a lot of money. $103 million, to be exact. What took so long? “The intent of the measure was to capture … [Read more...]

Weakening Prop 57 Reinforces Mass Incarceration

Proposition 57, passed in November 2016 by 64 percent of California voters, was a long awaited, much needed criminal and juvenile justice reform measure. Not only did it scale back overly punitive juvenile justice sentencing practices, it also created a way to reduce mass incarceration in California’s prisons. Prop 57 now faces opposition in the form of new legislation from those who believe the law goes too far in extending sentencing reductions to people convicted of serious or violent … [Read more...]

What to Do with Prop 47 Savings?

Prop. 47 got thousands out of prison. Now, $103 million in savings will go towards keeping them out Vonya Quarles grew up in South Los Angeles and describes herself as a third-generation convicted felon. But by the time she took the microphone at a Highland town hall meeting in January 2016, she was a lawyer and executive director of a Riverside County nonprofit that helps connect the homeless, formerly incarcerated and mentally ill to transitional housing. With applause from the audience, … [Read more...]

Harnessing the Power of the Public for Bold Change

  Monday, February 13th, marked the five-year anniversary of the founding of Californians for Safety and Justice, an advocacy organization seeking to replace prison and justice system waste with smarter safety solutions that save public dollars, in the state with the largest corrections system in the nation. We began this journey with a fundamental belief: Californians of all walks of life were ready for large-scale change. The incarceration-first approaches of the … [Read more...]

California’s Urban Crime Steady Through Policy Reform Era

A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that, despite the implementation of large-scale criminal justice reforms, California’s urban crime rates remained stable from 2010 through early 2016. The report uses recently released FBI crime data from the first six months of 2016 to compare rates of property and violent crime across cities and over time. Sources: FBI (2017); DOF (2017). Note: Violent crime rates exclude rape because the definition was broadened in … [Read more...]

Drug Enforcement Declines After Proposition 47

A new report finds arrests and citations for drug possession have decreased in Los Angeles and San Diego counties after Prop 47: Declining Drug Enforcement Report. n November 2014, California took a significant step toward reforming mass criminalization and over-incarceration by passing Proposition 47, a ballot measure that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors; prioritizing drug treatment over punishment. In 2015, the first full year after Prop 47, felony … [Read more...]

U.S. Correctional Population at Lowest Level in Over a Decade

The nation’s jail and prison population decreased in 2015, according to federal data released last Thursday, and the number of adults locked up or on parole or probation fell to a level not seen since 2002 while overall crime continued to drop. Reasons for the declining incarceration rates include the federal prison system releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders in 2015 and states seeking to save money by enacting legislation and policies to reduce prison populations. In … [Read more...]

A Compassionate View on Crime

The passage of Prop 47, the 2014 bill that reduced six types of low-level, nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, came with a lot of controversy. Surely, committing crime should have consequences, but some feared that without any real punishment beyond tickets and minimal fines, crime would go up. On the other hand, how harsh should punishment be for petty theft or drug use? Voters erred on the side of hope and second chances. This week, USA Today reported that nearly 200,000 felony charges in … [Read more...]

Finding New Jobs—and New Hope—After Prop 47

Drill in hand, Tim Wilson kneels to open up a broken air conditioner in Redding, Calif. Repair work like this is steady, but Wilson dreams of more. He wants to be a nurse, and for the first time in a long time, it’s not just a fantasy. Wilson, 42, a former meth addict, had three felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors under Proposition 47, which allowed some felons to retroactively change their records. With these convictions reduced, Wilson’s chances of being licensed as a nurse are much … [Read more...]