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Plan to change three-strikes law moves toward November ballot

January 3, 2012 | 11:19 am

California voters may once again have the opportunity to change the state's three-strikes mandatory-sentencing law
California voters may once again have the opportunity to change the state's three-strikes mandatory-sentencing law.

An initiative to change the law has been cleared to gather petition signatures, a potential step toward the November ballot. The proposed change would reduce the sentences of some currently serving time, and reduce prison time for those who are convicted of nonviolent felonies and already have two prior felony strikes.

In an economic analysis of the measure, the state's legislative analyst said the initiative, if passed, would save the state money but could increase costs for local governments.

"The changes would result in state prison savings, potentially ranging up to the high tens of millions of dollars annually in the short run, possibly growing in excess of $100 million annually in the long run," the analyst's report said.

At least some of those savings would be offset by increased court and jail costs for counties, the analyst wrote.  

Proponents of the measure must now gather more than 500,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. California voters rejected a change in the law in 2004.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

RELATED:

No easy fix for California's prison crisis

How prospects for Prop. 66 fell so far, so fast

Californians would rather ease penalties than pay more for prisons

Photo: Inmates at the California State Prison in Lancaster on June 10, 2010. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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