Yes on Proposition 36

The initiative will enable the Three Strikes Law to fulfill its original purpose

Eighteen years ago, voters approved Proposition 184, which established the Three Strikes You’re Out Law. Sufficient time has passed to become aware of the problems and to search for ways to correct them, while still upholding the original purpose, which is to get violent felons off the streets.

Proposition 36 will get that done. That the initiative has received support from LA District Attorney, Steve Colley, and LAPD Chief, Charlie Beck, insures that this measure doesn’t intend to take away from Californians their protection against criminals.

The initiative redresses one of the big problems created by Proposition 184, which is that it did not explicitly state that the third offense – which is the automatic tipping point for a minimum of a 25 years prison sentence – must be a serious or violent felony. By not doing so, thousands of individuals have been sentenced to long prison terms despite the fact that their third crime was a low-level offense.

California is the only state that doesn’t stipulate that the third crime must be a violent offense. This has resulted in the state’s prison population rising to a level that is not only incredibly expensive to maintain but so overcrowded that it has been declared inhumane by the courts.

The proposition requires that the third strike must be a serious or violent felony in order to prompt the automatic 25 to life prison sentence. It will also allow close to 3,000 inmates who committed nonviolent crimes to appeal for a reduction in their sentences, based on judicial judgment that they don’t present a threat to society.

In 2005, voters defeated by a close margin Proposition 66, which also tried to correct the Three Strikes You’re Out Law. Seven years later, support for changing the law has increased as a result of the unintended consequences.

We believe it is necessary and the right thing to do is to change the law. A vote in support of Proposition 36 will allow the Three Strikes Law to fulfill its original goal – to get dangerous criminals off the streets