Letter to the Editor: Proposition 36
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 19:11
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, California voters were presented with the option to modify the existing three-strikes law.
Since the implementation of the three-strikes law in 1994, many people have faced 25 years to life in prison for nonviolent crimes — including petty theft, forging a check or possession of a small amount of marijuana, for example.
With the passage of Proposition 36, California voters recognize the tremendous amount of government money that has been spent on life sentences for these nonviolent acts since 1994.
Under Prop. 36, prison inmates who are currently serving a life sentence for a nonviolent crime will be able to apply for early release, and nonviolent crimes will no longer be considered a “third strike.”
About 3,000 convicted felons whose third conviction was for a nonviolent crime will now be able to petition for a shorter sentence.
As tax paying citizens and people invested in social justice, we find the passage of this proposition a much needed first step for several reasons.
California currently faces tremendous prison overcrowding and difficulties with a balanced state budget.
People serving life in prison for nonviolent drug charges or petty theft does not make sense no matter which way you look at it.
Overall, Prop. 36 will open the doors for those who have been unfairly convicted for life due to nonviolent crimes.
Melissa Vazquez, Vanessa Madrigal, Kelly Chiaroni and Brittany Urich are a group of students in the Master of Social Work program at Cal State Long Beach.