Soapbox

Prop. 47 is breaking its promise to California voters

Ingrid Archie, who was released from prison under Proposition 47, helps prepare dinner at the First to Serve homeless shelter in Los Angeles in January.
Ingrid Archie, who was released from prison under Proposition 47, helps prepare dinner at the First to Serve homeless shelter in Los Angeles in January. For The Washington Post

Is Proposition 47 working the way it was sold to voters?

Los Angeles and Sacramento are just the latest California cities to report increases in crime. While the rest of the nation is enjoying a steady decline in the overall crime rate, we see mounting evidence to suggest something different – and not good – is going on in the Golden State.

Let’s go back to November 2014, when California voters approved Proposition 47. It was a two-part promise. The first part was a pledge to reduce the populations in overcrowded state prisons by sending nonviolent offenders back to counties. The second part was to provide badly needed drug treatment and other support services.

Unfortunately, we enacted the first part without funding or seriously implementing the second. And now we learn that our state is showing serious signs of defying national trends on crime. According to Los Angeles police data, homicides were up 10 percent and violent crime increased by nearly 20 percent in 2015 over 2014. In Sacramento, homicides rose by 27 percent in 2015 from 2014.

Is Proposition 47 the cause? Can it be that letting criminal defendants back on the streets without supervision, without treatment and without the other services can increase crime?

We simply do not know. But shouldn’t we be concerned about the undisputed fact that crime in our communities is increasing? Of course we should.

That is why the California Bail Agents Association is calling on lawmakers to study the impacts of Proposition 47, to look at the alarming data, to analyze recent changes in the law and to at least attempt to understand the underlying causes.

We spend millions of taxpayer dollars on police, law enforcement and our criminal justice system. California citizens expect to be kept safe.

Maggie Kreins is president of the California Bail Agents Association. She can be contacted at Maggie.Kreins@accredited-inc.com.

  Comments