California’s Proposition 47, which was considered a controversial measure, appears to be producing the results it was intended for. However, there are still those skeptics who question whether or not the desired results are being met. But, according to reports by the Stanford Justice Advocacy Project, any criticism of Prop 47 seems to be based on anecdotes and scare tactics rather than evidence and data.
The report further went on to highlight the positive effects of Prop 47 which includes a 13,000 inmate decrease in jail and prison population in California. This alone will save the state and counties more than $300 million per year. Early releases from county jails has been reduced by 35 percent, which means that overcrowding in jails has gone down. The report went on to say that of the prisoners released under Prop. 47, less than 5 percent have returned to prison or been convicted of a new crime. This seems to support the claim that there is no connection between any increase in crime over the last year and inmates being freed due to Prop. 47.
Other supporters of the proposition have expressed their approval, commenting that the results of Prop 47 have shown that the changes were definitely necessary and have proven to be helpful. Getting the prison population under control by targeting those crimes that are non-violent, has proven to be beneficial. The individuals who commit the types of crimes Prop 47 was intended for are not typically the individuals we see re-offending.
However, the critics of Proposition 47 are not convinced and have argued that the reduction in prison population is due to AB109 and realignment, not Prop 47. A good argument is that typically, individuals who benefit from Prop 47 are not individuals who are being sent to State prison. Critics further point out that there has been a decline in drug court program participation due to Prop 47 and that the DA’s office is now over-loaded with misdemeanor cases. It is further argued that jail crowding is back up and so is crime.
So the argument both for and against continues. But for now, it seems that the benefits of Prop 47 are significant and that the positives seem to outweigh the negatives, at least for the time-being. In favor of the proposition is the benefit of previously used funds to keep low-level offenders incarcerated, can now be used for mental health facilities and victim services, as well as other services with a goal toward prevention and rehabilitation. All would seem to have a positive impact on public safety.
The following is a list of felonies that may be eligible for Prop 47, having your felony conviction designated as a misdemeanor and/or resentenced as a misdemeanor: sections 11350, 11357 or 11377 of the Health and Safety Code or sections 459.5, 473, 476a, 490.2, 496 or 666 of the Penal Code. One of the more common convictions eligible for Prop 47 is possession of a controlled substance, which used to be a felony and is now a misdemeanor crime.
If you have been convicted of any of the above code sections, you may be eligible to have your conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunged, which can have an extremely positive effect on your life, especially when it comes to finding employment. Many employers are aware of Prop 47 and expungements and are willing to hire those who have successfully completed probation and have had their cases expunged.
It is important to consult with an Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer to find out if you are eligible for Prop 47.