Proposition 36 revises the Three Strikes Law (Proposition 184, adopted in 1994) to impose life sentence only when a new felony conviction is serious or violent. It authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences, if third strike conviction was not serious or violent and the judge determines the sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.

It continues to impose life sentence penalty, if the third strike conviction was for certain non-serious, nonviolent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession.

It maintains the life sentence penalty for felons with non-serious, nonviolent third strike, if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.

An offender with two or more prior offenses, but whose new offense is a felony that is non-serious and nonviolent would be given a sentence that is twice the length for the new offense rather than the 25-year-to-life sentence they would have ordinarily gotten.

Fiscal Impact: Ongoing state correctional savings of around $70 million annually, with even greater savings (up to $90 million) over the next couple of decades. These savings could vary significantly depending on future state actions.

There would be one-time state and county costs of a few million dollars over the next couple of years for court activities related to the re-sentencing of certain offenders.

Ironically, both supporters and those opposed to Prop. 36 claim law enforcement support for their positions. In the case of “yes,” prosecutors, judges and police officers support Prop. 36 because it helps ensure that prisons can keep dangerous criminals behind bars for life.

According to opponents, the proposition is opposed by California police, sheriff’s and law enforcement groups, including: the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Sheriff’s Association, the California District Attorneys Association, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, and the Los Angeles Police Protective League.