Proposition 57 was recently passed in California. Proposition 57 increased the chances for felons who were convicted of nonviolent crimes to get paroled. It also allows those felons to have more opportunities to earn credits for good behavior. Furthermore, it allowed judges and not prosecutors to be able to determine when certain juveniles can be charged as adults in court. This proposition is expected to immediately affect about 25,000 nonviolent state felons who are currently incarcerated. Before being released, these felons would have to prove that they are not a danger to the public and have to pass a parole board hearing and they are subject to supervision by parole officers once they are released.
In the past few years, California has seen its prison population increase over 500%, which has increased prison spending to over $10 billion each year. The passage of proposition 57 is therefore expected to save the state tens of millions of dollars annually because there will be many fewer people incarcerated that taxpayers will no longer have to pay for. Each county would be looking at a savings of a few million dollars per year once all the costs are balanced out. Essentially, this proposition will focus state and county resources on keeping dangerous felons behind bars.
There are some people who argue that this proposition would allow felons who were convicted of rape, lewd acts against children, and human traffickers to be paroled from prison. The same opponents to this proposition point out that the passage of this proposition will make victims more likely to relive the trauma because they now need to go to more parole hearings and relive their experience. This proposition might also make it more difficult to change these privileges at a later date if the proposition does not work as planned or expected.
Who could benefit from this Proposition?
For starters, nonviolent felons in the state of California benefit from this proposition because they are now more likely to be able to get paroled. Once they have served their full sentences of their primary offense and have passed a screening to see whether they are threats to the public, they can be paroled. These felons can now get credits for good behavior while they are incarcerated. These credits can be used to reduce the time they have to spend in prison. The argument is that inmates will be motivated to behave better in order to be able to get out of prison early on good behavior.
There is also some evidence that inmates who are rehabilitated are less likely to re-offend and therefore they are less likely to be back in prison once they are released. This would mean that the overcrowding that many state prisons are currently experiencing could be alleviated in part as a result of this proposition—benefitting taxpayers statewide.
Summing up all the arguments, both for and against Proposition 57; there are many possible and probable consequences of its passage. We will just have to wait and see what happens in the future.