CA confronts a Prop. 47 crime wave

Thomas Hawk / flickr

Thomas Hawk / flickr

Nearly a year after California voters overwhelmingly agreed to lessen sentences and release inmates convicted of minor crimes, statistical and anecdotal evidence has cast doubt on the wisdom of Proposition 47.

A souring trend

Change has been swift, but results have been mixed, with little to suggest the dynamic is soon to shift. “In the 11 months since the passage of Prop. 47,” the Washington Post reported, “more than 4,300 state prisoners have been resentenced and then released. Drug arrests in Los Angeles County have dropped by a third. Jail bookings are down by a quarter. Hundreds of thousands of ex-felons have applied to get their previous drug convictions revised or erased. But along with the successes have come other consequences, which police departments and prosecutors refer to as the ‘unintended effects.'”

“It’s too early to know how much crime can be attributed to Prop. 47, police chiefs caution, but what they do know is that instead of arresting criminals and removing them from the streets, their officers have been dealing with the same offenders again and again.”

As early as August, the numbers painted an unflattering picture of change. “In San Francisco, theft from cars is up 47 percent this year over the same period in 2014,” noted Debra Saunders at the San Francisco Chronicle. “Auto theft is up by 17 percent. Robberies are up 23 percent. And aggravated assaults are up 2 percent, according to San Francisco police spokesman Carlos Manfredi. Burglaries are down 5 percent.”

Los Angeles, Saunders added, “saw a 12.7 percent increase in overall crime this year, according to the Los Angeles Times; violent offenses rose 20.6 percent, while property crime rose by 11 percent. Mayor Eric Garcetti says Prop. 47 may explain Los Angeles’ change in course from crime reduction to crime increases.”

Now, cities and municipalities have begun facing up to the problems. In Santa Barbara County, for instance, the Board of Supervisors heard that, in the wake of Prop. 47, “the average daily population of the county jail has since crept back closer to normal levels, and the burdensome court workload is holding steady,” according to

“The law — crafted outside the state Legislature — is meant to save the state $100 million to $200 million by eventually reducing the criminal-justice workload and freeing up jail beds and probation resources. But that money isn’t coming until August 2016 at the earliest,” the site noted.

Holding out hope

Defenders of the measure insist that the wait is worth it. Writing in The Desert Sun, Indio public defender Roger Tansey called it “far too soon to declare Proposition 47 dead,” since “the second part of the proposition — the estimated $250 million in savings to be spent on rehabilitative services — has yet to be channeled to the counties.” Until that money rolls in, Tansey said, it’s too hard to tell whether repeat offenders are coaxed out of crime through rehab programs.

Other supporters shifted the grounds of the debate to Prop. 47’s impact on the next generation. “Children suffer most when we cavalierly incarcerate their parents,” cautioned San Diego Unified School District board member Richard Barrera in an editorial for U-T San Diego. “According to the Department of Health and Human Services, children of incarcerated parents are seven times more likely to be locked up one day. And according to the Women’s Prison & Home Association, one in 10 will have been incarcerated before reaching adulthood. Prop. 47 savings mean more money for schools. It means more money to invest in our communities’ health and safety. It means more students with stable homes, and more support for those looking to get their lives back on track.”

Momentum stalled

The initial wave of enthusiasm for Prop. 47 extended well beyond California, with the measure fitting the pattern of Golden State policies framed up as models for nationwide use. But in an editorial urging caution around the so-called Justice Reinvestment Act, Massachusetts’ answer to Prop. 47, the Boston Globe warned that many fewer addicts are agreeing to participate in drug court “while the homeless population has risen. Massachusetts lawmakers should examine California’s experience and find ways to avoid such unintended consequences.”


Write a comment
  1. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 16 October, 2015, 07:21

    Sorry voters of Califoolia but your turkeys have come home to roost now put up with the noise

    Reply this comment
  2. Ulyssess Uhaul
    Ulyssess Uhaul 16 October, 2015, 10:28

    Remember all those cutsy,metro, public college “educated”, young/dumbers bought tony lofts and condo in toilet downtown LA??????

    Well……they are back!

    Muggings, rapes, mayhem under the gritty urban moonlight.

    Poor sps fearful of nocturnal outings to suave restaurants and upender artistic performances.

    So gosh-

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 October, 2015, 10:58

    Well, I giuess we could have tens/hundreds of thousands of LOW LEVEL druggies locked up in prison, AT A COST OF $63k PER YEAR. Of course I have no idea who is GOING TO PAY THAT $63k PER YEAR, considering the state is bankrupt with $1 TRILLION of unfunded pension liabilities. It is not like we can PRINT $$$$, or plant “Money Trees”…..;
    The estimated total amount of unfunded liabilities in pensions in California in 2013 (the last year data are available) is $946.4 billion…

    Reply this comment
    • Jim Ricketts
      Jim Ricketts 16 October, 2015, 11:45

      Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your comment, but do you think that the solution to California’s fiscal problems is releasing drug dealers into the general public to save on incarceration costs? Have you considered the additional costs incurred by the general public when such “non-violent” offenders are released and resume their activities? Do you believe that somehow insurance rates will be unaffected? Do you believe that street-corner drug wars will not claim victims. Do you believe those intoxicated by the wares of these “non-violent” unlicensed pharmacists will not operate motor vehicles causing even more death and destruction?

      Reply this comment
      • Rex the Wonder Dog!
        Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 October, 2015, 20:57

        Yes, I am saying spending $63K per year to lock up low level drug addicts is insane, but hey, if YOU think it is such a great idea then YOU pay for it. Treatment is where they belong, not prison.

        Reply this comment
      • Ted
        Ted "Doc VanNostrum " Steele 19 October, 2015, 18:25

        Jim– Good points! You may be new around here– the guy Rex the wonder dog AKA Poodle is a TROLL— Ignore his junior hi level provocations and dim witted commets— ALL of us do!!!

        Reply this comment
  4. Jim Ricketts
    Jim Ricketts 16 October, 2015, 11:34

    So when you release “non-violent” criminals, you predictably get an increase in “non-violent” crime. What liberals overlook, however, is that even “non-violent” crime has victims who are harmed.

    Reply this comment
    • Mr. Whistle
      Mr. Whistle 16 October, 2015, 17:39

      Mr. Rickett’s is right. remember seeing on FOX all the criminals breaking into the grocery store in Ferguson, Mo – and law enforcement doing nothing to those THEIVES even though they had everybody on camera with face shots????? Non-Violent crime against an innocent grocery store……..
      all hell is breaking loose, with state and fed laws being violated all over the country, and NOTHING being done………
      leaving VICTIMS to pay for the tab of the losses they incur, even when we have the ability to catch them………. Sad.

      Reply this comment
  5. Mr. Whistle
    Mr. Whistle 16 October, 2015, 17:31

    Another mis-step in making a law. Perhaps a good time to discuss the violation of the State in NOT following the laws of the state in doing its sworn duty, but alas, we the taxpayer continue to pay excessive portions of our scarce resources (money) as we pay year in and year out to take ‘care” or the poor misguided souls on Death Row at San Quentin…. Tried and convicted twice of a crime punishable by death – the state can’t even get that right with injection malfunctions. Call any Vet’s office, and they can show you the process. When the court of public appeal is stronger than our laws, the system breaks down and us, the poor saps who actually follow the rules get to pay, and pay, and pay some more. But, get a parking ticket and they will hound you down, impound your vehicle or other assets, and other nastiness for parking your LF wheel on a sidewalk…….. Perhaps the money being wasted on the BULLET train should be redirected to the BULLET process that SHOULD be in play at SQ………..
    And how much is the Taxpayer shelling out for some dirt bag on death row for 25 years? Rex the wonder Dog cites 63K per dirt bag. Hmmm. 25 years X 63K = $1,575,000.00 Dollars. With 650+ incarcerated at SQ, serious coin. What a waste……….
    That money could be going to K-12 Education and not appeal after appeal and sex change operations at our expense………
    Oh, does this mean the party in power these past decades know the difference between fungible and non-fungible?
    I doubt it………. And Californians keep voting in people not qualified to be in our legislature… Grrrrrr………. 🙁

    Reply this comment
  6. desmond
    desmond 17 October, 2015, 03:35

    It would be progress to bring back the Stockade, as well as public hangings, whipping, good frontier justice.
    It is totally b.s. to say that the death penalty is not a deterrent. A child sex offender should be castrated in front of fellow prisoners, and then hung by his neck. Show that on the internet and see if the crime does not go away. If the fellow has the urge, I would rather he kill himself.
    Mass shooters, line him up and smoke him on the spot. Drug dealers, make them eat the drugs and then hang him. Last meal, a pile of shit shoved down the throat.
    Any friends or family members don t like it, send them to prison for life. Prisons are work camps in the desert. Dig holes and fill them up.
    I would lower the crime rate.
    White collar criminals and crooked cops, politicians, 30 years at the work camps, no privileges. Meet Hank with the big hands and feet. He is happy to meat you(every night).

    Reply this comment
    • NTHEOC
      NTHEOC 17 October, 2015, 20:55

      Desmond, sounds like you support Sharia Law! You’re right in line with it…..

      Reply this comment
  7. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 17 October, 2015, 14:59

    Everyone seeks warmth, shelter, security called self preservation. The means to attain it are clouded by cost of incarcenation, civil liberties and related whatever.

    and sickos esposing some disturbing scenarios above-

    Reply this comment
  8. none
    none 17 October, 2015, 23:19

    Yes, Richard Barrela, it WILL mean more crime.

    Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 20 October, 2015, 14:21

      I’m amazed at the comments of this Barella clown: “Children suffer most when we cavalierly incarcerate their parents.”
      Really? But then we all know its always better to let criminals mentor their young children and teach them their values. That’s principally why we have the never ending, crime ridden ghettos of today.
      The old sixties Crosby,Stills & Nash song comes to mind:
      “Teach your children well…

      Reply this comment
  9. desmond
    desmond 18 October, 2015, 07:14

    No sharia law. What happened o the frontier? Let us do it again. First step would be to execute everyone on Death Row on a Monday. Start the week off on a good note. Transfer all the savings toward troubled youth efforts at getting them on the right path. Common sense reforms for a better California. How does feeding and housing human feces help anything?
    The Monday purge can be called “California takes a big healthy dump.”

    Reply this comment
  10. desmond
    desmond 18 October, 2015, 12:24

    You like people on Death Row more than needy youth.
    People are in favor of death penalty. Killing criminals will make a comeback. There is too much financial upside to ignore.

    Reply this comment
  11. Ulyssess Uhaul
    Ulyssess Uhaul 18 October, 2015, 21:43


    Destitute is a false prophet…..beware….his cheapening of human life is disturbing…….never meet this dude for Tranfusions!

    Reply this comment

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