Proposition 57: The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016

What is Proposition 57?  

Proposition 57is a measure passed by voters on November 2016 that is helping California replace its costly overreliance on bloated prisons with smart justice strategies focused on rehabilitation. For too long, the state’s prison system has grown in cost and size, with too many people coming out only to re-enter the system. Californians want smart justice – rehabilitation, less wasted money, and to close the revolving door. Proposition 57 replaces one-size fits all sentencing with discretion, rehabilitation and incentives for people in prison to better themselves before release. Specifically, it:

  • Permits Parole for Rehabilitated Inmates with Nonviolent Convictions: Authorizes parole consideration for people with nonviolent convictions who complete the full sentence for their primary offense. California’s determinate sentencing laws include rules called “mandatory enhancements” that often result in people receiving long sentences that are disproportionate to the crime. This measure allows parole boards to consider release for people with nonviolent convictions to reduce wasteful spending, prevent re-offending, and allow people to become productive members of society. No one is automatically released under this measure. The parole board maintains discretion to prevent release for anyone that is deemed a risk to public safety.
  • Provides Incentives for Inmates to Complete Rehabilitation: Incentivizes people in prison who maintain good behavior and complete rehabilitation or education programs to earn credit toward release. Currently, sentencing laws prevent California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from awarding inmates with earned time credit for rehabilitating themselves. This measure provides CDCR discretion to award earned credit to reduce recidivism. CDCR will determine eligibility after adopting regulations that will ensure public safety.
  • Prevents Prosecutors from Transferring Youth to Adult Court: Requires judges rather than prosecutors to decide whether a youth as young as 14-years-old should be tried as an adult. Despite the fact that transferring youth into the adult criminal justice system leads to higher recidivism rate and less rehabilitation, California currently allows prosecutors to direct file youth into adult court with no judicial review. The measure makes transfer hearings more fair by presuming youth should remain in juvenile court unless proven otherwise. This measure mandates judges to carefully review all of the circumstances of the youth’s life, the alleged crime, and how children are different from adults before making a decision on whether that young person should be charged as an adult.  

 

Why Does California Need Proposition 57? 

Over the last several decades, California’s jail and prison populations have exploded. The state built 22 prisons, passed more than 1,000 crime bills, and increased incarceration rates by more than five times. Moreover, people of color bear the brunt the expansion - Black adults are nearly seven times as likely as White adults to be incarcerated and Latino adults are twice as likelyCalifornia now spends 10 billion dollars per year on corrections – nearly 10% of its general fund. This extreme growth has wasted billions of dollars – and failed to effectively stop the cycle of crime. Experts now agree: dramatic increases in incarceration and sentence lengths do not impact crime rates, and too often, lead to high recidivism rates for people coming out of prison. Countless studies show that the more people are rehabilitated, the less likely they are to re-offend. Yet, for too long, our bloated prisons have not focused on rehabilitation or incentivizing people to better themselves while incarcerated. It’s time to change that. By investing in rehabilitation, the initiative improves public safety, helps stop the cycle of crime and reduces prison waste.

 

How Can I Get Involved in Implementation?

Please send a letter asking for full implementation of the measure BELOW!