Prop 57 is aimed at the criminal justice system; it will provide convicts–who have committed non-violent, non-serious felonies and have completed serving their entire primary sentences–with a higher chance of being paroled and it will also shift the responsibility of making the decision to prosecute a minor as an adult to judges.
Prop 57 adds a new section to the California Constitution that establishes parole consideration for nonviolent felons who have served the full-term of their prison sentence for their primary offense. It gives some convicts the chance to petition a parole board for release. The number of prisoners that would ultimately be released is contingent upon the mercy, or lack thereof, of particular parole boards.
It also grants, to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the authority to award credits to prisoners for good behavior. It provides sanction for a program that already exists; one in which a cap of 15 percent applies to the amount of time that can be reduced because of a convict’s’ positive behavior.
Prop 57 amends sections of the Welfare and Institutions code to reflect a procedural change regarding how, and by whom, the decision to prosecute a minor as an adult is accomplished. It is unknown how such changes in procedure will impact the number of minors charged with serious felonies.
Prop 57 is championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the California Democratic Party, SEIU and Cal Statewide Law Enforcement. Together with six PACs, the war-chest for the campaign is nearly $15 million
When asked by the Mercury News, why voters should support Prop 57, Brown said,
“Why not give some of these people a second chance? Isn’t that human nature? Aren’t redemption and forgiveness what it’s all about?”
The No On 57 campaign is being financed by the Stop Early Release of Violent Criminals PAC, which has raised $252,000 according to Secretary of State–witjh major funding from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. Supporters include the San Francisco Police Officers Association and the California District Attorneys Association.
The changes to parole considerations are expected to reduce the prison population and save the state “tens of millions of dollars annually.”