Prop 57 Aims To Reduce California’s Overcrowded Prisons

Prop 57 Aims To Reduce California’s Overcrowded Prisons


Riverside County, CA

The state’s prison system is in for a change after 64 percent of California voters approved proposition 57.

In 2010, California prisons were at 200 percent capacity. In 2014 voters approved proposition 47 which reclassified many felonies as misdemeanors.

Prop 57 aims to have the same affect on the prison population by different means.

The first change is that it allows judges to determine whether or not a juvenile should be prosecuted as an adult. 

"Up until the passage of this initiative a district attorney could do what they called direct filing in superior court now their will be no juvenile prosecution unless a judge decides it’s appropriate based on the nature of the charges," said criminal attorney John Patrick Dolan.

Prop 57 now allows parole boards to determine release for non -violent offenders.

"It doesn’t reduce any case to a misdemeanor but it says if you have a non-violent case and you have some enhancements as an example to the non-violent case, a parole board can say you served the underlying term, you won’t have to serve the enhancement, we’re going to send you out on parole," Dolan said. 

Prop 57 would also allow the department of corrections to adjust prisoner credits. 

"When someone is in custody they get good time, work time credits and it allows the department of corrections to adjust percentages of credits especially in light of good behavior, work ethic, taking classes and also because of overcrowding if it’s necessary in order to cut down the population," said Dolan.

Much like prop 47, proposition 57 is being met with a lot of opposition from law enforcement professionals like Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. 

"There is a specific legal definition and it’s not just the more general definition that we all think of and that’s why I’m speaking out is the public needs to be aware that these quote, unquote, non-violent offenses are actually very serious and violent many times violent crimes," Hestrin said.