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...]

Chipping Away at the Crime Wave Myth

The politicians and pundits, the academics and activists have argued for months over whether America is in the grip of a new crime wave. A few weeks ago, the FBI appeared to lay to rest the argument when it published its annual figures on crime reports to local police departments: the number of violent crimes reported was, indeed, up 3.9 percent last year, but was still near its lowest point in decades. A new report from another wing of the Justice Department, the Bureau of Justice … [Read more...]

Prop 47 Brings Arrests To 55+ Year Low

California saw its overall arrests plunge to a record-breaking low last year following the adoption of Proposition 47, a voter-approved initiative to reduce penalties for drug and property crimes, changing them from felonies to misdemeanors. According to CBS, California saw 52,000 fewer arrests overall in 2015 compared to the previous year – the lowest arrest rate in the state since 1960 when they began keeping arrest records. “I think it’s quite clear that Prop. 47 is the major contributor … [Read more...]

Prop. 47 Working? Depends Whom You Ask

The premise behind the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, or Proposition 47, overwhelmingly approved by California voters in November 2014, was simple: Reduce the penalties for nonserious, nonviolent offenses such as drug possession and minor theft and pass along the savings from less-crowded prisons and jails to programs that would reduce recidivism and crime and help victims. But nothing about Prop. 47 has been simple in the 21 months since then. As intended, the law has prevented … [Read more...]