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Multiple studies demonstrate that the certainty of punishment – the chance of getting arrested and probability of some jail time or other restraint on freedom – is far more important than the severity of punishment if our overall goal is deterring crime.

So I would urge you to vote for Proposition 57, unless you believe that our dysfunctional Legislature will come up with wholesale reform of our criminal sentencing scheme any time this century.


We believe we must shift our view of prisons. We cannot continue to think of them as warehouses where we store for as long as possible all those convicted of major crimes. We must provide opportunities for individuals to reform and earn their way out, while retaining a firm hold on those who clearly should remain behind bars.

Proposition 57 gives us a chance to move in that direction. In February, The Star recommended voters not sign petitions to place the initiative on the ballot. Now that we see it, we have changed our view and recommend a yes vote.


As a Superior Court judge for nearly a decade, I got a close look at a justice system that was failing too many people. I am supporting Proposition 57 because I believe it would begin to address that failure.


For over 40 years, I have thought about crime and our prison system. I was the one who signed the new laws in 1977, and I know that our current system of fixed, rigid sentences—changed constantly by politicians—doesn’t work. Proposition 57 will change this and make our communities safer.


There's got to be an objective process for the orderly release of people who try hard in prison to improve themselves. I've thought for a long time we ought to go back to the future when committees of inmates and staff evaluated people for release. Who better than the people who see them every day, work with them every day, often know them better than their own families, to decide who's a menace, who isn't?


Pero nosotros creemos que la solución a la criminalidad no es más encarcelamiento, tampoco construir más cárceles, que es hacia donde nos dirigimos si no se toman medidas adicionales para reducir la población carcelaria, sino la inversión de más recursos de California en rehabilitación, educación y lucha contra la pobreza.

¡Sí a la proposición 57!


Gov. Jerry Brown sees Prop. 57 as a responsible way of not only avoiding mass releases, but encouraging those in prison to better themselves by participating in evidence-based rehabilitative programs. We agree.


In the mid-1970s, calls to get tough on crime swept the nation, and California began imposing strict penalties for crimes. The shift from a system of so-called indeterminate sentencing — in which offenders’ release dates are decided by a parole board — to a system of determinate sentencing, in which fixed sentences are imposed by judges, led to a prison building boom and caused the state’s prison population to swell far beyond capacity. 


Prop. 57, we are confident, would enhance the quality of justice now dispensed throughout California’s criminal justice system.


Proposition 57 is Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to recalibrate California's criminal justice system by returning to judges, parole boards and prison officials some of the power that craven lawmakers and frightened voters have, over the years, unwisely transferred to prosecutors.


Unlike many initiatives, Proposition 57 will line no one’s pockets. It is not a broad overhaul of the criminal sentencing, nor is is it a get-out-of-prison-free card for felons. People who commit violent crimes, as defined by the Penal Code, still would do their time. But those who commit what are known as serious felonies could reduce their terms by following prison rules, not affiliating with gangs, avoiding drugs, and gaining education and job skills.


Proposition 57, Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to make some of the state’s less-violent felons eligible for earlier parole, is at least a partial rollback of the fixed-term sentencing system that Brown signed into law 40 years ago, a change that led to a 600 percent increase in the California prison population and to a U.S. Supreme Court order to reduce overcrowding.


Four decades later, California is under a court order to reduce its prison population because of severe overcrowding that led to inhumane conditions. Since returning to the governor’s office five years ago, Brown has made reducing that population one of his main priorities and has instated a number of major criminal justice policy shifts.


So it’s all the more important for voters to see Prop. 57 clearly for what it is: a measure that will encourage nonviolent offenders to use their prison time to improve themselves. Prop. 57 will also put the decision of whether to try a juvenile as an adult in the hands of a judge — not a prosecutor.


Californians now have two choices: continue to pay more taxes to build more prisons to keep more people behind bars; or reform the sentencing and incarceration system to more reasonably punish and rehabilitate criminals.


Every day an officer puts on his or her uniform, it represents a commitment to protecting our neighbors and doing everything we can to ensure dangerous criminals are brought to justice. As a career probation officer, I’ve spent my career keeping our communities safe — supervising former inmates to keep them from entering back into a cycle of crime.


Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the Public Safety and
Rehabilitation Act of 2016, a ballot initiative that will make sweeping
reforms to the criminal justice system and change to how youth are
charged in the system.


California voters will likely be asked this fall to overhaul the state’scriminal justice sentencing system. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced he’ll do “whatever it takes” to pass the ballot measure.