In 2011, the US Supreme Court ruled that California’s prison population was too crowded and violated the Constitution’s 8th Amendment as cruel and unusual punishment. In 2014, voters approved Proposition 47, which reduced certain non-violent offenses to misdemeanors and gave inmates a greater chance for parole. The state has already reduced its prison population by roughly 50,000 inmates, but still must reduce by another 50,000 to be in compliance.
Prop 57 will allow non-violent offenders to earn credits for good behavior, educational achievements and rehabilitation that can be used to shorten their sentence. Prop 57 would still require inmates to serve their minimum sentence.
The proposition also includes a requirement for any juvenile who is to be tried as an adult to be confirmed by a judge, first. Currently, a prosecuting attorney can make that decision without approval.
Some things to consider:
1. The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates net state savings likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, primarily due to reductions in the prison population.
2. Strangely, rape of an unconscious person, taking hostages, and setting off a bomb with intent to injure are not considered violent crimes. As the current law is written, these criminals would be considered eligible for early release if Prop 57 passes.
For more information, please see the link to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office