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Yes on Prop 36

August 11, 2012

by Geri Silva

Prop 36, the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012, will be on the November 2012 ballot! California’s Three-Strikes law, studies show, has significantly contributed to the increase in California’s prison population with its long, 25-years-to-life sentences. Nearly two thirds of the second or third strikers have been incarcerated for nonviolent crimes.

According to the Justice Policy Institute, Three Strikes has had a disparate impact on Blacks. With only 7 percent of California’s population, Blacks comprise 45 percent of the Third Strikers.

The iconic “pizza thief” who got 25 years for stealing a piece of pizza was a Black man, Jerry DeWayne Williams.

This ballot measure will amend the current Three Strikes law as follows:

  • Eliminates life sentences for most minor, non-violent, non-serious crimes, such as petty theft and simple drug possession. Defendants who commit violent or serious crimes will continue to receive life sentences.
  • Provides that repeat offenders who commit a new non-violent, non-serious crime receive double the ordinary sentence instead of a life term.
  • Prisoners currently serving life sentences for non-serious, non-violent crimes can apply for a sentence reduction. A judge can reduce the life sentence to a term of years no less than double an ordinary sentence if the judge determines that the sentence reduction would not cause “an unreasonable risk to public safety.”
  • Exception: Any defendant who has ever been convicted of an extremely violent crime, such as rape, murder or child molestation, will receive a life sentence no matter how minor their third strike crime.

The ballot measure makes no changes to the rules for “second strike” sentences.

Cost savings:

  • The state auditor estimates that the current Three Strikes law costs the state at least $200 million per year to incarcerate inmates convicted of non-serious, non-violent crimes.
  • This ballot measure will save the state $150 to $200 million per year by eliminating the cost of incarcerating and paying health care costs for aging non-violent, low risk inmates.

Re-sentencing provision:

  • Prisoners currently serving life sentences for non-serious, non-violent crimes that would not result in a life sentence under the new law can apply for a sentence reduction. A judge must reduce the prisoner’s life sentence to a term of years no less than double an ordinary sentence unless the sentence reduction would cause “an unreasonable risk to public safety.”
  • The burden is on the prosecution to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the prisoner is an unreasonable risk to public safety. The prisoner must be re-sentenced to the shorter sentence if the prosecution cannot meet this burden.
  • A prisoner will have a right to a court-appointed attorney at any re-sentencing hearing. All relevant evidence can be considered at the sentencing hearing, including but not limited to: prison disciplinary records (both positive and negative reports), health records, family support, sobriety and employment prospects.

An estimated 3,000 inmates will be eligible for a new sentence under this initiative. While this measure is more conservative than Prop 66, it reflects what the ballot authors wanted AND it’s what we have. So, we shoot for an overwhelming victory with Prop 36 in order to carry the fight to abolish the law beyond November 2012!

Vote Yes on Prop 36 to bring this little fellow’s mama home. He’s holding the FACTS banner on Martin Luther King Day.
As we’ve known for over 10 years, the voters overwhelmingly support reform. But, the cruel lesson learned with Prop 66 in 2004 is that an uneducated, uninformed public can and will be swayed by fear-laced lies.

That’s where we, you and I, come in!

There’s something for everyone to do:

For us at FACTS, it’s all about outreach, voter registration and voter education. That means public forums, town halls, Three Strikes Sundays, speaking at colleges and universities, tabling at events, house parties, going in groups of three or four to parks and setting up tables – we’re always registering new voters – taking sign-in sheets wherever we go and recruiting new folks to be involved in the campaign, getting lawn signs up, hitting up local businesses, churches and schools to put up signs in windows, on counters and bulletin boards, and holding barbecues, bake sales and voter registration and voter education events.

If you or your loved one would like to get busy with one of our chapters or representatives in cities throughout the state or if you want to play an individual role in your community, please call us at (213) 746-4844.

Geri Silva is a founding member of Families to Amend California Three Strikes – FACTS – and the Fair Chance Project. She is an active participant in California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement.


21 thoughts on “Yes on Prop 36

  1. JoeGuard

    Poor iconic pizza thief Jerry Dewayne Williams committed strong armed robbery and is now the victim because he only came away with some pepperoni? Nice

  2. John Mulligan

    Jerry DeWayne Williams isn't even serving life. It was reduced.

    "With only 7 percent of California’s population, Blacks comprise 45 percent of the Third Strikers."

    That's on you, not society.

  3. Selina

    Then if it's on US then why in the HELL do you keep on coming on this site

    Evidently you JOHN MULLIGAN feel guilty and responsible about the increase of Blk Prison pop. adding your pathetic 2 cents opinion

    1. the 57%

      Same reason I do, to see the bullshit you publish as news and laugh our asses off at how stupid you niggers are.

      1. Selina

        It is the same reason why your own dumb a$$ Cavedwell'n kind walks into schools, restaurants

        and MOVIE Theatures and shoot up they're own b/c they have f'd up lives and their too stupid to end

        their own life so they walk into a public place and kill other people

  4. the 56%

    It should be 3 strikes then a bullet to the head. If you have committed 3 felonies you probably are not going to change. Act like a human and you will be treated like a human, act like an animal and you will be put down like an animal.

  5. John Mulligan

    Because I don't like racism Selina, just how I don't like what 57% posted. He's racist, and so are you. Every single article on this website that deals with crime is racist. Every time an article dealing with crime is posted here, you ignore the crime in the black communities, in effect, you condone it. You don't care if blacks kill blacks, if blacks kill whites or if blacks kill asians. But oh no when a cop kills a black guy, a great injustice has been done. Why? Because the black guy had a gun? Because he was wanted for murder? Because he's doing life for committing multiple violent crimes? That's what gets you upset? It's ugly Selina, and if you want to post your ugliness online for the world to see, prepare to get called on it.

    1. Selina

      No, I'm not a Racist you said it's up to us to changes our condition

      I agree it is up US ( Blacks) but it petty for anyone outside of the BLK-community to stick nose into

      issue or even waste their energy with being concern w/other peoeples

      According to this country's mainstream Cacasians have a High unemployment rate of 22%-30%??

      nation wide and you all have highrate of home/forclosures not soley due to OBAMA but beginning with George Bush II

      BUT is that ANY of my concern NO I'll deal with my own problems of my society NOT yours

      Why Because I can't DO A DAMN for you :)

  6. John Mulligan

    That would be true Selina, if your problems didn't spill over into everyone else's business. As for G. Bush, I'm well aware he's a POS.

    1. Selina

      My problems "spilling over into everyone else's business" SO WHat and you bringing your "don't have a life self on this site is gonna solve MY problems

      Do you live in the innercity? And don't just say your tax dollars pay for my problems, remember your so-called great Pres., FDR created the welfare syst., to help your poor a$$ ancesters you got caught in the dust bowl and the great depression

      Because you don't even have control over your tax dollars first point, AND YOU CAN DO THE DAMN RESEARCH FOR YOUR SELF majority of your tax dollars goes pay for Wars ie the two current wars and to help those countries re-build new infastructor and schools your nation's army help destroy

      Like for instance Iraq more tax payers money sent over their and other countries for "so-called" Aid in exchange for natural resources like petroleum

  7. Selina

    James Holmes, dylan klebold and eric harris, James Huberty-who shot up McDonalds in 1983

    Patrick Edward Purdy who shot up a school in Stockton, CA and this is short list because there's many more

    These Barbaric Bastard's acts of evil SPILLED OVER into the family's of their victims and none of these BASTARDS showed no remorse for their victims

  8. John Mulligan

    The difference is you don't see people crying for guys like James Holmes. The right reaction is good riddence. You don't seem to get that. Try to find an article somewhere on this website from the last two years that discusses inner city violence, there isn't one. Try to find an article here that puts the blame squarely where it belongs, the thugs pulling the trigger, there isn't one. What does Iraq have to do with this conversation? Are saying that because Iraq was wrong we should ignore the gang problem in ths country?

  9. Selina

    "Try to find an article here that puts the blame squarely where it belongs, the thugs pulling the trigger, there isn't one. What does Iraq have to do with this conversation? Are saying that because Iraq was wrong we should ignore the gang problem in ths country?"

    Your problem is that you’re mentally on a plantation as the overseer by coming on this sight using you use your whiteness as a authority to tell African people how conduct themselves but nobody is listening and that’s what irritates you the most

    The thuggs pulling the trigger is the US-Army in Iraq, Iran, Grenada, all over Latin America constantly in Africa, w/AfriCOM

    THE REAL THUGGS ARE THE US-ARMY and the various military contractors BlackWater [ XE }

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