Artists for 47 is a coalition of artists that helped raise awareness about the need for Californians to reform its broken justice system by voting Yes on Prop 47.
Prop. 47 was a huge step in the right direction. It changed the lowest-level crimes, such as simple drug possession and petty theft from felonies, to misdemeanors – and is dedicating the savings to crime prevention. Prop. 47 has paved the way for California and other states across the country to start spending money on what we value most – our children.
Today, over-incarceration continues to devastate families and communities all across America. In California,taxpayers now spend $9,100 per K-12 student while spending $62,300 per prisoner each year. As a result, California has built 22 prisons and only one UC university in the last 30 years. The fact is that we are wasting costly prison space on petty crimes which takes money away from education, treatment and other social services proven to increase rehabilitation and stop the cycle of crime.
On November 4, 2014, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 47, a law that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. The savings from reduced incarceration costs will be invested into drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services.
The proponents of the reform proposal were retired San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. In addition to law enforcement leaders, crime victims, teachers, rehabilitation experts, business leaders and faith-based organizations support the reform.
PROP 47 BROKEN DOWN:
1 – Stops Wasting Prison Space on Low-Level Nonviolent Crimes
Changes the lowest level nonviolent drug possession and petty theft crimes from felonies to simple misdemeanors. It authorizes resentencing for anyone who is incarcerated for these offenses and poses no threat to public safety. These changes apply to juveniles as well as adults.
2 – Redirects Hundreds of Millions to K-12 and Treatment
California counties will save hundreds of millions annually and state prison reductions will generate between $750 million to $1.25 billion in savings over the next five years alone. Those savings will be shifted into K-12 school programs (25%), victim services (10%) and mental health and drug treatment (65%).
3 – Protects Public Safety
Focuses law enforcement resources on violent and serious crimes, and directs savings to programs that stop the cycle of crime. Prisoners may only be released if they demonstrate that they are no longer a threat to public safety.
4 – Reduces the Collateral Consequences for Low-Level Crime
Reduces the barriers that many with felony convictions for low-level nonviolent crimes face to becoming stable and productive citizens, such as employment, housing and access to assistance programs and professional trades.