Prop 57: Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements (2016)


Oct 12, 2016 (San Diego) Criminal Justice reform is not just a buzzword. This initiative is part of it. Part of the background for this is the court order in 2011 to reduce California prison populations. The federal court found our prisons were overcrowded. Measures were taken already, which include realignment.

This would apply to only non violent felons, and it would expand on Prop 47 efforts to reduce populations. It will give credits to felons who participate in educational or other rehabilitation programs.

From the initiative we find:

  •  Protect and enhance public safety.
  •  Save money by reducing wasteful spending on prisons.
  •  Prevent federal courts from indiscriminately releasing prisoners.
  •  Stop the revolving door of crime by emphasizing rehabilitation, especially for juveniles.
  •  Require a judge, not a prosecutor, to decide whether juveniles should be tried in adult

This will lead to reforms. It also makes the system more fair to juvenile offenders. It takes quite a bit of power from the hand of prosecutors, and helps the state comply with Federal orders without surrendering control. It also turns a page towards a return to policies that do reduce recidivism.

It is supported by Governor Edmund Brown, interesting to us Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House and the Democratic Party, as well as the Peace and Freedom Party. The arguments in favor as as follows:

  • The proposition would provide a sustainable way to reduce California’s overcrowded prison population while rehabilitating juvenile and adult inmates.
  • The proposition would still keep dangerous offenders in prison.
  • The proposition would save taxpayers millions of dollars.
  • The proposition would be better than the status quo because it addresses evidence-based rehabilitation for juveniles and adults.

It is opposed by the who’s who of law enforcement as well as multiple District Attorneys, It is also opposed by Loretta Sanches, a democrat, and a slew of Republican representatives, as well as Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The full list is at Ballotpedia.

Arguments against are as follows:

  • The proposition was poorly drafted and would allow criminals convicted of crimes like rape, lewd acts against a child, and human trafficking to be released early from prison.
  • The proposition would allow career criminals to be treated as first offenders.
  • The proposition would overturn provisions of victims’ rights legislation like Marsy’s Law, “three strikes,” Victim’s Bill of Rights, and the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act
  • The proposition would force victims to relive their experience more often with more parole hearings.
  • The proposition could result in higher crime rates.
  • The proposition would place the new privileges for criminals in the California Constitution, making it more difficult for the legislature to change the language if necessary.



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