By Marc Debbaudty
Officer Jose Ibarra of the Northeast Division talks with a homeless
man, who is on probation. They found drug paraphernalia at his
encampment but did not arrest him. With proposition 47 in place the
officers said the City Attorney would just toss the case.
(Los Angeles Times)
As crime rates rise, Californians are realizing that they
were sold a bill of goods on Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure
that converted some felonies to misdemeanors. The campaign spin was all
about reducing the punishment for drug possession. But proponents played
down its dramatic softening of penalties for many non-drug offenses.
this law, more than 3,700 inmates have had their sentences reduced and
been released from state prison. Drug addicts now often escape
punishment for crimes they commonly commit to support their habits:
shoplifting, writing bad checks and any thefts under $950 — even of
guns. And most semiautomatic pistols and revolvers are purchased new for
less than $950. This leniency just facilitates continued addiction.
Proposition 47, when prosecutors evaluated the appropriate degree of
punishment to seek for someone accused of drug possession or theft, they
studied the person's criminal history. That history doesn't matter much
anymore. Even someone who has been convicted and served time for a
serious crime — such as armed robbery, kidnapping, assault with a deadly
weapon — can no longer be sent back to prison if convicted of a new
theft or drug offense, because these have been reclassified as