Proposition 36 proposes moderate but needed changes to a currently flawed “three-strikes” sentencing law. In essence, it makes the punishment fit the crime for petty criminals.
Not all felonies are equal, and therefore should not be met with the same automatic sentencing. This proposition would make it so that people convicted of a third-strike felony will receive a life sentence only if one of their three strikes was because of a violent crime.
It is also estimated to save the state $70 to $90 million of its annual prison budget after its initial cost and would alleviate the state’s problem of overcrowded prisons.
Opponents of this measure worry that it could release dangerous criminals that are likely to re-offend. But the measure maintains life sentences for felons if they were previously convicted for rape, murder or child molestation.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is known for being tough on crime, is a backer of Proposition 36.
This board agrees that Proposition 36 is a necessary change to have an effective justice system that reserves harsh penalties for the most dangerous criminals.