[vc_empty_space height=”24px”][qodef_custom_font font_family=”Poppins” font_size=”56″ line_height=”67″ font_weight=”400″ letter_spacing=”-2″ text_transform=”capitalize” text_align=”left” content_custom_font=”PROPOSITION 20.” color=”#0a0a0a”][qodef_custom_font font_family=”Poppins” font_size=”36″ line_height=”67″ font_weight=”900″ letter_spacing=”1″ text_transform=”capitalize” text_align=”left” content_custom_font=”Increasing penalties for misdemeanor crimes” color=”#0a0a0a”]

WHAT WILL IT DO?

Certain theft and fraud crimes that were only considered misdemeanors would now be charged as either misdemeanor OR felony
*crimes chargeable as misdemeanors or felonies are called wobblers
  1. Establishes two additional types of wobblers—serial crime and organized retail crime
  2. Expands DNA collection for felons- data would be stored in state and federal databases. Those convicted of felonies or wobblers prior to 2014 would be required to submit DNA samples.
  3. Changes the rules for California’s parole review board by increasing the requirements to grant prisoners early parole.
  4. Re-categorize over 50 crimes from non-violent to violent. Offenders would be ineligible for early parole
  5. Increase punishments for parole violators

CONTEXT:

Misdemeanor crimes are less severe than felony crimes. Punishments for misdemeanors include up to one year of jail time, small fines, and other temporary consequences. Felony convictions are sentenced to more than one year in prison, heavy fines, and other punishments.
Since 2011 California has passed several measures aimed at reducing the prison population and have granted convicts more opportunities to reduce their sentences or grant early parole for good behavior especially for non-violent crimes. This has helped with preventing over-crowding of California prisons, but has caused debate on the categorization of crimes such as rape, domestic abuse and instances of human trafficking as non-violent.

ARGUMENTS FOR:

This measure would keep more people in prison for crimes like rape of an unconscious person or domestic violence. These are currently not treated as violent offenses which this proposition intends to change. Serial theft (a person caught for the third time stealing $250 or more in value) would be a felony charge and enable law enforcement to prosecute these crimes more effectively by being tougher on crime, communities are made safer.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST:

Harsh prison sentencing did not work in 1990 and would push the state to once again over-crowd prisons. Minorities would be disproportionately impacted as they already make up more of the prison population than they do in the state. Harsher sentencing would further damage these communities and extend the harm of a racially biased criminal justice system. This initiative would increase funding for prisons instead of allocating those funds for community resources.
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