In California, money that was once used to charge first-time, nonviolent crime offenders with heavy sentences will instead be used to fund mental health and substance use services, truancy and dropout prevention and victim services.
This is the result of Proposition 47, which changed many nonviolent, non-serious crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. A report issued this month by the Legislative Analyst’s Office says that the proposition, passed last November, is working.
The report states that beginning next year, the proposition will save the state of California an estimated $100 to $200 million. Under Proposition 47, those charged with receiving stolen goods, theft and shoplifting where the property value is $950 or less will be charged with a misdemeanor. The offender will no longer be sent to state prison but will instead serve a lesser sentence at the county level.
Additionally, inmates who have been charged with these crimes could receive a reduced sentence. These changes will result in significantly reduced inmate populations and saved state funds.
The report also noted that the resentencing and reclassification hearings will temporarily increase state court workloads, but will permanently reduce felony cases and other hearings.