Finally, we have a pathway back to law and order in California: “The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2020.” This initiative will appear on the November ballot and is supported by every major law enforcement organization in the state. This initiative seeks to repair the massive damage to our criminal justice system perpetrated by Propositions 47, The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014, and Proposition 57, The Public Safety Rehabilitation Act of 2016.
Proposition 47 reclassified drug and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and allowed those already incarcerated for those crimes to petition the court for a new sentence or outright release. How safe is that?
Proposition 57 was an additional loosening to those seeking parole with the real goal of lowering the state’s prison population. What about the rehabilitation?
These two measures misclassified serious crimes as nonviolent and lead to the release of dangerous individuals and allowed them to return to our neighborhoods and in many cases, continue with their career pursuit of criminal activity. And with the new sentencing laws, these habitual criminals could not have their records used as part of the sentencing process, further exacerbating the problem. It put an end to the three strikes law, which many credit with reducing crime while filling up our prisons.
This new act – which has yet to receive an official Proposition Number – seeks to undo the damage done by these previous acts and allow our law enforcement professionals to do their jobs and protect the 99% of the population that do not commit crimes.
Specifically, the initiative will: Reclassify formerly “nonviolent” crimes like rape of an unconscious person, pimping a child, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon as “violent” crimes under California law; removes the $950 misdemeanor theft limit by making a third or serial theft in excess of $250 a felony; restores the ability to collect DNA for crimes previously reclassified to misdemeanors and resumes the ability to consider an inmate’s entire criminal history when deciding parole to ensure that career violent offenders do not qualify for early release.
The current laws allow for serial criminals to commit crimes against us with little or no punishment, while businesses are forced to take more aggressive theft prevention measures and must pass these costs on to their customers. And victims of domestic violence and rape are no longer protected from their aggressor, which is just wrong.
As a civilized society, we have an obligation to protect the populous from those who would seek to enforce their will using physical aggression or threat of bodily harm. The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2020 is a great step forward toward taking back California.
Robert “Bob” Magee
Mayor Pro Tem