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Will Proposition 47 be a benefit or a detriment to California?

Back in a July post, as some of our more frequent readers may remember, we talked about Proposition 47, the new ballot measure that would change how certain nonviolent crimes were classified in California.  Proposition 47, if signed into law, would convert some felony crimes into misdemeanors, which would have a huge impact on how the criminal courts issue sentences for these crimes.

But even though the measure hasn't been decided on yet -- California voters will get the opportunity to vote on the measure this coming November 4 -- some people in the state are already debating whether the law is a good idea or a bad idea.  We thought we'd weigh in on the issue this month by presenting both the pros and cons, and letting our readers decide.


There are two main arguments for opposing Proposition 47.  The first argument highlights the fact that if the measure passes, an estimated 10,000 offenders, who are currently serving time for felony convictions, would have the right to petition for resentencing.  In some instances, a judge might decide that a sentence has been served and order the convict's release.  Some fear this might result in a risk to public safety.

The second argument is that Proposition 47 may not adequately hold a person accountable for their participation in criminal activities.  A downgraded sentence or an early release might leave residents feeling as if justice has not been served completely.


Despite opposition from some within the state, Proposition 47 has some definite pros.  For starters, the measure would resolve our state's problem with overcrowding in prisons and jails, freeing more money in the budget for other projects and providing a better quality of life to inmates across the state.

In addition to this, the measure will give added funding to drug treatment and mental health programs, which have proven to be better at preventing crime than incarceration.

Source:  The Press Enterprise, "Decision 2014: Prop. 47 lowers penalties for some crimes," Don Thompson, Oct. 13, 2014

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