What We’re Fighting For

Proposition 20 fixes four specific flaws contained in recent criminal justice reforms — addressing violent crime classification and serial theft, as well as parole reform and DNA collection.

Violent Crimes

  • Proposition 20 expands the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option
  • Under 2014’s Prop. 47, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, assault of a peace officer, felony domestic violence and other similar crimes are not classified as “violent felonies” — making criminals convicted of these crimes eligible for early release under Proposition 57
  • Gives victims reasonable notice of inmates’ release and the right to submit a confidential statement to the Board of Parole Hearings
  • Key topcs: Proposition 57 and violent crime, Proposition 57 and early release

Serial Theft

  • The initiative revises the theft threshold by adding a felony for serial theft — when a person is caught for the 3rd time stealing with a value of $250
  • Prop. 47 changed the dollar threshold for theft to be considered a felony — from $450 to $950
  • As a result, there has been an explosion of serial theft and an inability of law enforcement to prosecute these crimes effectively. Theft has increased by 12% to 25%, with losses of a billion dollars since the law was passed.
  • This problem won’t be solved legislatively, as some have proposed
  • Key topics: Unintended consequences of Proposition 47, Prop. 47 leads to crime epidemic

 Parole Violations

  • The initiative requires the Board of Parole Hearings to consider an inmate’s entire criminal history when deciding parole, not just his most recent commitment offense; and requires a mandatory hearing to determine whether parole should be revoked for any parolee who violates the terms of his parole for the third time
  • AB 109 bases parole solely on an offender’s commitment offense, resulting in the release of inmates with serious and violent criminal histories. Moreover, parolees who repeatedly violate the terms of their parole currently face few consequences, allowing them to remain on the street
  • Key topics: AB 109 and considering prior crimes

DNA Collection

  • Reinstates DNA collection for certain crimes that were reduced to misdemeanors as part of Proposition 47
  • Multiple studies have shown that DNA collected from theft and drug crimes has helped solve other violent crimes, including robbery, rape and murder
  • Since passage of Prop. 47, cold case hits have dropped over 2,000, with more than 450 of those hits connected to violent crimes
  • Key topics: DNA cracks Golden State Killer case, DNA Collected at arrest important

Returning “Safety” to California Public Safety


Closes dangerous loopholes created by misguided criminal justice reforms
Proposition 20 was developed in response to the Legislature’s failure to fix significant public safety problems created by AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57. AB 109 shifted tens of thousands of criminals from state custody to overcrowded local jails and under-resourced post-release community supervision. Prop. 57 allowed many inmates to apply for parole earlier and Prop. 47 changed some drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, allowing early parole for violent criminals, and a surge in retail theft, car break-ins, burglaries, illegal drug use and other property crimes throughout the state.

Overwhelming voter support
To qualify for the ballot, we collected over 600,000 signatures in an exceedingly short period of time — though only about 366,000 valid signatures were needed.

The initiative would have qualified for the 2018 ballot if some counties had processed the signatures faster. In addition, despite widespread voter support for the measure, then-Governor Brown filed a lawsuit trying to block it from a vote of the people.

Fortunately, the courts rejected Brown’s meritless lawsuit, and his side was required to pay $60,000 to cover our attorneys’ fees — a BIG win for California voters.

Proposition 20 will now appear on the General Election ballot on November 3, 2020.

Note: The the Secretary of State’s website still refers to the initiative as the “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018,” but this title cannot be changed.

Our Leadership Committee

Crime Victims United President Nina Salarno Besselman

Crime Survivors, Inc. Founder/CEO Patricia Wenskunas

Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove)

Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield)

Organization for Justice and Equality President Frank Lee

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer

California Police Chiefs Association Imm. Past President Ron Lawrence

Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri

California Grocers Association President Ron Fong

California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin

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