California voters may soon transform the state’s criminal justice system, abolishing some of the most scandalous bills that have passed in the state over the past few years.
Since 2014, California lawmakers have passed several controversial bills aimed to lessen the punishment for several crimes, reduce the prison population in the state and put the criminal justice system’s emphasis on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
Some say these laws have helped California become a safer place, while critics say crimes have been on the rise because of these laws. As you may have guessed by now, we are talking about Proposition 47 and Proposition 57.
And today, we decided to invite our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from the Okabe & Haushalter law firm to discuss how California voters may soon reverse these two crucial laws.
For those of you not familiar with Proposition 47 and Proposition 57, the former was approved by California voters back in 2014. The legislation mitigated the punishment for several drug and property crimes. In 2016, voters passed another controversial legislation aimed to reduce the prison population in California. Proposition 57 was about allowing inmates serving prison sentences for nonviolent crimes to apply for early release and take part in rehabilitation programs.
But opponents of the “rehabilitation over incarceration” legislation have argued that the reform of the criminal justice reform caused an uptick in crime in Los Angeles and all across California.
California lawmakers heard the voices of these critics, and are poised to give state voters a chance to abolish many of the reforms from Propositions 47 and 57 as part of the 2020 election. Yep, not only will California voters have to decide whether to cast their vote for President Donald Trump at the next election, but also participate in the ballot initiative that would roll back these reforms.
“What are these reforms all about?” you may be wondering. For example, one of the reforms of the criminal justice system was to reclassify some felonies as misdemeanors. If California voters decide to roll back the reform, certain theft offenses involving stolen property valued between $250 and $950 will be classified as a felony again.
But the biggest question remains this, “Is crime really on the rise in California? And are Props 47 and 57 really to blame for the uptick in crimes?” Our experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles says, “While the claim that crime has been on the rise in California ever since the reforms have been signed into law has become the basis of the ballot initiative to reverse the reforms, recent crime statistics in California contradict these claims.”
According to the most recent crime statistics in the state, property crimes decreased by more than 2 percent in 2017. And since property crimes were one of the main subjects of Props 47 and 57, many supporters of the reform argue that the decrease in property crimes is proof that the legislation is working.
However, there was a 1.5 percent increase in the violent crime rate per 100,000 persons last year in California, but it is doubtful that Props 47 and 57 had anything to do with that increase. So will the 2020 ballot initiative reverse these laws in a little more than two years from now? Only time will tell.
Do you have any questions about California’s criminal justice system? Schedule a free consultation with our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at the Okabe & Haushalter law firm to find out more. If you are being accused of a crime in California, do not hesitate to call at 310-430-7799 or complete this contact form today.