This Midterm Election we're supporting Proposition 47 because it's taking an important step toward fixing our state's broken criminal justice system. By lowering penalties for some nonviolent, low-level offenses, it's giving women and men a fair chance to rebuild their lives. Our current Women's Policy Institute fellow, Heather Warnken, explains why Proposition 47 is important for crime victims.
As a criminal justice researcher, the debate over Proposition 47 is of great interest to me professionally. As a crime survivor, it’s also deeply personal.
Prop. 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, would be historic in its reclassification of six petty drug and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, paving the way for alternatives to incarceration. The savings from reduced incarceration (estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars annually) would then be invested into mental health and drug treatment, K-12 programs and victims’ services.
Most of the public debate has centered on the six specific crimes and the appropriate response to those who commit them. This narrow line of discussion – driven by our failed mass incarceration experiment and the historically under-inclusive nature of the public safety debate – overlooks the perspective of a key stakeholder: crime victims.
Read the full article. Originally published on Huffington Post on November 2, 2014.