New York is widely recognized for very significant dramatic reductions in both crime and prison populations. Many states across the U.S. using alternative strategies to incarceration in fighting crime have also experienced reduced crime levels and number of prisoners.
California's Proposition 47 also reflects the executive agenda of the federal government in being smarter on crime. The federal and local governments across the U.S. are starting to implement new policies for low level drug offenders who need drug and mental health treatment. Politicians are noting that prisons may not serve to solve underlying problems of offenders; prisons may actually exacerbate those problems and even harden them into becoming a risk.
Drug treatment professionals know that if the underlying problem(s) causing addiction are not successfully treated it is very likely the condition and self control of an addict will spiral downwards.
Criminal lawyers and professionals working in drug rehabilitation centers have known for years that an addiction to illegal drugs often goes hand in hand with petty and non-violent offenses, such as theft.
Criminal lawyers from LibertyBell Law Group advise that California Prop 47 is smarter, cheaper and a commonsense justice policy. The lawyers say that sending someone to a drug treatment center may save lives, heighten public safety, and is a more humane and compassionate method to deal with those in unfortunate circumstances.
On November 1, 2014, a similar measure in federal law called Amendment 782 (a.k.a. "Drugs Minus Two") will allow the early release of federal inmates convicted of drug crimes for those who qualify. Though, each prisoner must be reviewed by a judge before approval. Among the many factors considered are the criminal history and conduct in prison.
If Proposition 47 passes, California will follow suit by having each pre-qualified prisoner evaluated by a judge for retroactive sentence reduction. The criminal history and risk assessment will be thoroughly reviewed on in deciding if the inmate poses a danger to public safety. If the judge decides the inmate does not pose a risk to public safety, the inmate will be retroactively sentenced for an early release from prison.
Proposition 47 reduces particular crimes from felonies to misdemeanors where the value involved in the crime does not exceed $950. Drug possession would be reduced to a misdemeanor and the individual would receive much needed drug treatment, and possibly other social services, instead of prison time.
Prop 47 crimes reduced to misdemeanors:
- Grand theft
- Receiving stolen property
- Writing a bad check
- Personal use of most illegal drugs