By Susan Motander
A committee has been formed to back a proposed ballot measure to help curb the rising crime rate in California. The California Public Safety Partnership Issue Committee is circulating a petition to place on the ballot a Proposition called the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act.
Since the enactment of Assembly Bill 109 and the passage of Propositions 47 and 57 in the last few years, the crime rate throughout California has been increasing. Michele Hanisee, President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys outlined the impact of these measures to the Monrovia City Council last year. The ultimate result was the increase in criminal activity. (For a more complete summary of the re-post she presented, please see “How have Assembly Bill 109 and Propositions 47 and 57 changed the California Criminal Justice System” in the on-line edition of this publication.
Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Assembly Member Jim Cooper are backing the campaign to put this issue before the voters. The committee behind the measure hopes to have enough signatures to qualify the measure for inclusion on the November 2018 ballot.
If the measure does quality for inclusion it would reclassify as violent several crimes that are currently considered non-violent crimes under California’s Penal Code. These include rape of an unconscious person, sex trafficking of a child and 14 other serious crimes including Domestic Violence (Domestic Violence is not Violent?). These were reclassified by Proposition 57 last year in attempt to avoid overcrowding in jails. The fallout of this action was the early release of inmates convicted of these crimes.
The proposed proposition would reform the penal system to stop the early release of violent felons, to expand parole oversight, and to strengthen the penalties for parole violations. It would also reform the law regarding thefts to make serial thieves and gang that are involved in organized thefts more accountable for their crimes. And lastly it would expand the collection of DNA to include those who are convicted of drug, theft, domestic violence and other serious crimes. This action might even exonerate those wrongly accused.
Additional information on the proposed proposition can be found on the website of the group supporting it: https://keepcalsafe.org/