One of the measures on California’s statewide ballot this fall is a controversial proposal to change dramatically how the state treats certain “nonserious, nonviolent” drug and property crimes.
Known as Prop 47, the measure would downgrade such offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. It will also allow those currently serving time for these “lesser” crimes to apply for a reduced sentence, as long as they have no prior convictions for more serious convictions involving murder, attempted murder, or sexual offenses.
The outcome of a vote to approve Prop 47 would save the Golden State a lot of money that’s now spent on incarceration, and also ease the prison overcrowding that Gov. Brown and state officials have been struggling with for years. However, on the flip side, a “yes” vote could mean the need to spend much more money on law enforcement. Approval of the measure would result in the release of thousands of “dangerous inmates,” according to officials quoted in a FoxNews.com piece on the thorny issue.
…the measure is being slammed as dangerous by members of California’s law enforcement, including San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.
Zimmerman told foxnews.com “virtually the entire law enforcement community opposes Prop 47.”
“It will require the release of thousands of dangerous inmates,” she said.
“[Prop 47 is] not a sustainable or responsible way to reduce California’s prison population,” she said.
Other outspoken opponents of the proposition can be found in the California Police Chiefs Association.
“Proposition 47 is a dangerous and radical package of ill-conceived policies wrapped in a poorly drafted initiative which will endanger Californians,” the association said.
So, it appears that law enforcement in California is lining up against politicians and lawmakers, and in theory even standing against the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder. As the foxnews.com post reminds us:
The proposition is being considered at a time when justice system changes are being implemented nationwide. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department would mandate that “low-level, nonviolent” drug offenders no longer face mandatory minimum prison sentences.
It appears that California voters are inclined to support Prop 47 and thus stand against the warnings from the police and sheriffs charged with protecting those very voters and the communities in which they live.
An August poll by the Field Research Corporation found that 57 percent of Californians were in favor of the measure, 24 percent were opposed and 19 percent were undecided.
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