Proposition 36 on three strikes law passes, AP says
Proposition 36, placed on the ballot in hopes of reducing prison overcrowding and preventing what proponents view as unfair sentences for minor crimes, has passed, according to the Associated Press.
Backers pointed to thousands of California prison inmates serving long sentences after being convicted of nonviolent crimes. They argued that changing the three strikes law would save taxpayers $100 million a year.
The ballot measure has a provision requiring a defendant’s “third-strike” crime to be serious or violent, with some exceptions, before triggering a 25-year-to-life prison sentence.
The three strikes law, approved by voters in 1994, has been popular with Californians for years. But as the state’s fiscal crisis dragged on and a growing share of the state budget has been consumed by state prisons, polls began to suggest Californians were willing to reconsider the law.
California is now spending more on prisons than on higher education.
The measure received support from district attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco but has been opposed by some law enforcement associations and victims groups.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Voters cast their ballots at the Sue B. Dance Company in Altadena. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times