Why focus on Proposition 47?
Prop 47 will:
- Reclassify six petty crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. This will result in shorter sentences and keep people out of prison.
- Allow Californians with a felony conviction for one of those petty crimes to petition a judge to remove the felony from their record retroactively.
- Reinvest the money saved into K-12 schools, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services.
The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014 (Proposition 47) represents a concrete and immediate opportunity to begin our work to reform the criminal justice system. Bend the Arc leaders in the Bay Area chose to join this campaignfor several key reasons:
- The criminal justice system perpetuates poverty and inequality in this country. The criminal justice system disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, particularly communities of color, separating parents from their children, and decimating families and communities. Changing the current system is one of the most significant ways we can move toward a more just society.
- The penalties for low level, non-violent offenses, in particular, are disproportionately impacting low income families and communities, and costing California billions in dollars spent for incarceration and in lost human productivity. Petty, non-violet crimes are being prosecuted as felony offenses, filling our prisons with non-violent men and women who could otherwise be caring for their families and contributing to their communities. It is more productive to invest in alternatives to incarceration for people convicted of non-violent crimes.
- Jews can make a meaningful contribution. As voters and as volunteers, Bend the Arc leaders can leverage our power to strategically and meaningfully participate in criminal justice reform efforts.
- The time is right. Nationally and locally, the tide is turning in criminal justice policy. Federal and state laws are being revised. There is a window of opportunity to make real change.