Opponents of Proposition 20 claim it will “waste millions on prisons.” They rail that it will lock up teenagers for low-level, non-violent crimes for years in state prison.
But they’re making it up. Prop. 20 was actually carefully and specifically written to prohibit it from sending additional people to state prison. For those who enjoy reading California legal codes, see Sect. 7(b), sub(h) of 1170 in the actual initiative language.
And since it doesn’t send more people to prison, how could it waste millions on prisons? IT DOESN’T.
In fact, the Yes on 20 campaign filed a lawsuit against the opponents for using these false and misleading statements in their official ballot arguments and rebuttals — and they voluntarily agreed to change most of them. Because they knew they could not defend them in court.
Sadly, they continue to use these misrepresentations everywhere else —misleading voters about what Prop. 20 does and doesn’t do. It’s a shell game — they’re trying to distract voters with their lies so that they don’t focus on what the initiative actually does.
The truth is that Proposition 20 was narrowly drafted to fix four specific flaws created by previously passed criminal justice measures — Propositions 47 and 57, and AB 109. In summary, these fixes include:
— Reclassification of currently “nonviolent” crimes like rape of an unconscious person, sex trafficking of a child and felony domestic violence as “violent” — to prevent the early release from prison of inmates convicted of these crimes. It does not send anyone new to prison, but only ensures that those who commit these crimes serve their complete sentence. So, no need to “waste millions on prisons” — new or existing — as they claim.
— Restores consequences to serial theft by making the third conviction for stealing (with value of $250 or more) a “wobbler.” This allows the third (not first, not second, but third) significant theft to be charged as a felony, giving judges the ability to impose court ordered rehabilitation programs — versus the alternative of a short stint in local jail — to help serial offenders turn their lives around. Again, no state prison. This also wholly contradicts the opponents’ claim that the initiative somehow reduces rehabilitation — Prop. 20 actually increases it!
— Reinstates DNA collection for those convicted of misdemeanor theft, drug and domestic violence crimes — “indicator” crimes proven to help solve other more violent crimes or to exonerate those wrongly accused. Since the passage of Prop. 47 (which did away with DNA collection for these crimes), cold-case hits dropped by 2,000. This will help start solving some of those crimes again.
— Requires a mandatory hearing to determine whether parole should be revoked for a parolee who violates the terms of parole for the third time. Currently, parolees could continue violating their parole 7, 8, 9 times or more without having their parole re-evaluated. The parolee who shot and killed Officer Keith Boyer in Whitter in 2017 was one of these parolees.
So, when the opponents continue to call our initiative a “prison scam,” it’s a flim-flam — a con game — to misdirect voters. Because they don’t want to talk about the fact that they are SUPPORTING the EARLY RELEASE OF PEOPLE CONVICTED OF raping an unconscious person, beating their spouse and selling a child for sex. Because seriously, who would want to admit to that?