Voters Lighten 3-Strikes While Increasing Revenues for Education

For Immediate Release-November 7, 2012

Press Contact:       Isaac Ontiveros

Californians United for a Responsible Budget

  510.444.0484


Oakland CA – Yesterday’s election results show Californians calling for additional cuts to the prison population and corrections budget while approving new taxes to save programs like education, welfare, childcare, and healthcare.

Voter resoundingly passed Proposition 36 by a 69% to 31% margin, which revised the three strikes law to impose a life sentence only when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent”.

“This vote sends a strong and clear message to the Legislature and Governor that we’re past time for serious sentencing reform that goes beyond 3 Strikes. Californians are done with the ‘tough on crime’ era,” said Debbie Reyes of the California Prison Moratorium Project.  Reyes continued, “2013 should be the year in which the Legislature reduces sentences for all felonies, decriminalizes drug possession, and takes other concrete steps to reduce the size of our still super-sized prison and jail systems.”

“California’s 3-Strikes law has been the cornerstone of 30 years of bad criminal sentencing laws,” said Geri Silva of Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes. “Yesterday was a great victory for the families of those inside who have worked for over 15 years to change the law. This is a monumental step towards justice, but we know it is only the first step.”

“Inhumane and counter-productive sentencing laws are the engine that drives racist mass incarceration,” continued Silva. “Now that 69% of voters have decided to change the 3-Strikes law, Sacramento needs to step up and make further changes to 3-Strikes and all criminal sentences.”

Proposition 30, which raises revenue to go to schools and public services was passed by voter 54% to 46%.”Looking at the results of Props. 30 and 36 prove what polls have shown for years: Californians are willing to pay higher taxes to preserve education and services while cutting sentences for some people convicted of felonies.” said Emily Harris of CURB. “The vote for Prop. 30 shows how much Californians value public education and other services whose budgets have been slashed in recent years,” said Harris.

The will of California voters to change the states criminal justice policies was manipulated in the passage of another measure. Voters passed Proposition 35, the “Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act” Initiative, which would increase prison terms for human traffickers 81% – 19%. “Prop 35 was a deceptive, cynical attempt by a rich Republican to brand himself as supportive of women’s issues. Unfortunately, voters fell for a proposition that won’t do anything to reduce human trafficking, but will put more women, immigrants and transgender people in prison.” said Diana Block of California Coalition for Women Prisoners. “We call on the Legislature to change those parts of the law that have nothing to do with trafficking.”

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