We the People Org, a prison reform advocacy group, filed an initiative this week—the People’s Fair Sentencing & Public Safety Act of 2018—with the office of the California Attorney General in support of dismantling the state’s Three Strikes Law which they contend is among the leading causes of mass incarceration.
The group pointed to the passage of Proposition 36 in 2012 in which 69 percent of California voters were in favor of eliminating the law which can sometimes lead to life imprisonment for small, non-violent offenses such as shoplifting, provided the individual has two prior felony convictions.
Data released from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has indicated that the recidivism rate of inmates released under Proposition 36 has been at 1.3 percent. Five years after the ballot measure, the group believes it’s taking the logical next step in eliminating the law.
Officials with We the People Org say their initiative could save state taxpayers millions of dollars that “is being wasted” each year in housing non-violent inmates many of whom remain incarcerated despite the establishment of Proposition 36. The proposed law would reportedly provide mandatory relief for non-violent three-strikers by allowing them to file a Recall of Sentence Petition and, within 180 days of filing, be eligible to be re sentenced with only two strikes.
We the People Org has stated that California leads the nation in prison spending, yet is number 48 in education funding. They want the money saved by the initiative to be funneled into education, youth crime prevention and rehabilitation.