In 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47 or, as it was known on the ballot, "The Safe Neighborhoods & Schools Act." The new law reduces sentences for non-violent crimes across the state and, in many cases, retroactively adjusted penalties for those convicted, prompting countless early releases from prisons and county jails.
While it has only been a few months since its passing, Prop. 47 is well on its way to achieving a number of its goals. These include:
- Proper re-evaluation of sentences we impose on nonviolent criminals
- Reduction in our overcrowded county jail and prison systems
- Improvement of the jail and prison environment for inmates serving time
- New funding from saved penal system expenses to benefit community programs
However, in a survey from the Associated Press and reported on by The Press Enterprise earlier this month, the newest Prop. 47 numbers are not encouraging across the board. In fact, counties like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Fresno reported only slight jail population drops and Riverside County was the only county surveyed that actually reported a 0.21% rise.
Why the rise in statistics?
Officials are still speculating why some county jail populations are faring better than others, but one factor already seems apparent: due to the early Prop. 47 releases, offenders incarcerated for other crimes are not seeing opportunities for early release due to overcrowding. This is believed to be the case in Riverside County.
In the report, Riverside County Chief Deputy Scot Collins was quoted saying that the county's 5 jails are still at full capacity and that there have been "small dips" in both daily bookings and early releases. Still, Collins encouraged patience. "To really understand the long-term effects of Prop. 47 on the criminal justice system will take years," He said.
If you need to know how Prop. 47 affects you and your criminal charge, contact an experienced Riverside criminal defense attorney at our firm. We are ready to schedule a case evaluation with you today.