Proposition 47

Male hands in handcuffsCalifornia Proposition 47 was voter initiated and appeared on the general election ballot on November 4, 2014. The official name of California Prop 47 is the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. With a percentage of 59.6 percent to 40.3 percent, California Prop 47 was enacted by the voters of the Golden State into law.

Background of the Proposition: Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative

The background of Proposition 47 arose out of a number of different concerns among the electorate as well as criminal justice system analysts. First, California has been trying to address a chronic problem with prison overcrowding for an extended period of time. Second, there has been a concern that some criminal sentences in the state are disproportionate to the underlying or associated crime. In other words, too many people are behind bars in California and some of those individuals are serving unduly long sentences.  If you find yourself behind bars, the help of an experienced bail bondsman could be your ticket to a faster release. Elected officials have struggled with addressing these issues in what some consider a spotty and somewhat ineffective manner. The voters of California have attempted to take matters into their own hands through the initiative and referendum process in the past. This proposition marks a significant step by the people of California to revamp the criminal justice and prison systems in the state.

Types of Crimes with Reduced Penalties

The types of crimes that will have reduced penalties because of Proposition 47 are specific types of non violent felonies. The proposition requires that these non violent felonies be sentenced as misdemeanor crimes: Shoplifting, with property value of $950 or less Grand theft, with property value of $950 or less Receiving stolen property, with property value of $950 or less Forgery, with a value of $950 or less $950 Fraud, with a value of $950 or less $950 Writing a bad check, with a value of $950 or less Personal use of most illegal drugs How California Prop 47 Impacts Incarcerated Individuals Proposition 47 does impact incarcerated individuals as well. The proposition permits resentencing of those individuals serving time for a felony that would now be classified as a criminal misdemeanor pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. A total of approximately 10,000 incarcerated individuals in California are expected to be able to take advantage of this downward criminal penalty adjustment. How the Proposition Effects Arrested Persons The proposition directly effects arrested persons in California that are charged with the crimes enumerated within the proposition. These individuals will not be charged with a felony, but rather a criminal misdemeanor, provided they do not have prior convictions for serious crimes like rape, murder, or child molestation or are registered sex offenders. Californians for Safe Neighborhoods and Schools In addition to addressing the criminal penalty issue, the proposition establishes a monetary fund with the cost savings anticipated because of lower incarceration rates in the state prison system. The proposition calls for this money to be expended on school truancy and dropout prevention, mental health programs and substance abuse treatment and victim support services.

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