Proposition 47 on November ballot would release low-level offenders from jails and prisons

Oct 7, 2014 8:09 PM

The Redding City Council is debating a heated issue tonight -- a state proposition on the November ballot that would lessen the severity of some crimes -- and possibly release low-level offenders from jails and prisons.

Assembly Bill 109 made it possible for low-level offenders to get back on the streets.
Opponents are saying Prop 47 would give Shasta County a double dose of that -- but supporters argue the money saved by Prop 47 would go to fund programs to help low-level criminals.

Prop 47, also known as the "Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative", would reclassify "non-serious" and "non-violent" felony crimes into misdemeanors;
allow those who are incarcerated for certain felonies to apply for a reduced sentence;
and open a "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund" from the money saved by the initiative.

"We have a problem not with crime..but with incarceration."

ACLU Representative Doug Bennett supports the proposition, and says it would open new opportunities for dealing with non-violent criminals.

"We would have more $ for more pos programs....

Opponents who are against the initiative say it deceives voters into thinking schools will benefit from the money saved.
The felonies outlined in the initiative that would be reduced to a misdemeanor include the use of hard-core illegal drugs, and theft of any item under 950 dollars.

"If a person steals a gun which is usually a felony, it would now be reduced to a misdemeanor, meaning convicted criminals can have guns."

According to a recent poll by the California State "Department of Justice", violent crimes were down 6.5% from 2012, while property crimes were down nearly 4%.
They also say the violent crime rate per 100-thousand residents decreased in 2013 to its lowest level since 1967.

But Sheriff Bosenko says the consequences of the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act" aren't what they seem.

"Actually it'll be more dangerous neighborhoods because there's going to be more felons and criminals out in individual communities."

If the proposition passes, 10,000 felons would qualify to apply for a reduced sentence and be released from prison.


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