Criminal Law

Crim. Law Journal Winter 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 1

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT PROP 47 BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

By Albert Camacho, Jr.*

I. Introduction to Proposition 47

On November 4, 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, also known as the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act." The purpose of the Act is to "ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses, to maximize alternatives for non-serious, nonviolent crime, and to invest the savings generated from the act into prevention and support programs in K-12 schools, victims services, and mental health and drug treatment, while ensuring that sentencing for dangerous crimes such as rape, murder, and child molestation remained unchanged."1

The Act has three components: first, it changes certain theft-related and drug possession felonies into misdemeanors, if certain conditions are met; second, it allows defendants who are currently sentenced to either prison, county jail, or probationary sentences on these offenses as felonies to be resentenced to misdemeanor sentences, subject to certain limitations; and third, it allows people who were previously sentenced to these felonies in the past and have completed their sentences to now have the convictions designated as misdemeanors, regardless of when the original sentencing occurred.

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