The people of California, frustrated by a lack of meaningful criminal justice reform, have taken the matter into their own hands and voted a resounding “yes’ on Proposition 47, a ballot initiative that reduces the penalties that are associated with low level drug and property crimes.
In the early morning hours of November 5, the Sacramento Bee reported that with almost three million ballots counted, 53 percent of those who voted approved of The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, better known as Prop 47.
In an exuberant email sent out November 5, Lenore Anderson, chair of the Prop 47 ballot committee, hailed Californians who voted for the initiative and thanked them for their support by stating, in part:
"You are the reason California will now lead the nation in replacing over-incarceration with crime prevention and community safety solutions. Your tireless support and activism pushed this campaign forward and led to this historic victory.
We came together to craft Proposition 47 out of a recognition that we can no longer waste billions on costly and bloated state prisons while our communities suffer. We came together because we knew Californians want a smarter path.
This victory shows that people of all walks of life want more schools and less prisons, more prevention and less incarceration, more help and less harm.
The possibilities now in front of us are powerful. We are starting to imagine a California that builds 22 new universities over the coming decades, instead of 22 new prisons; a California that focuses law enforcement on violent and serious crime while investing in prevention and treatment to stop the cycle.
The future California -- where communities have what they need to be safe and healthy and ever-growing prisons are a relic of the past -- is within our grasp.
To reach it, our work is not done. In the coming days, we will be reaching out to you to share the ways you can get involved in the implementation of Prop 47, and how you can help the growing movement! It's an exciting time and we're excited to partner with you for years to come."
Anderson also told San Diego’s Union-Tribune, “By passing Proposition 47, California voters show that they understand that the policies of the past have failed and that we cannot incarcerate our way to safety."