SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Proposition 57 will release non-violent felons to ease overcrowding, but what many voters may not know is that some violent felonies are being reclassified as nonviolent.
Law enforcement says Prop. 57 was misleading, and deceived voters into thinking lower-level offenders would be the ones to get out of prison on parole – it turns out Prop. 57 is re-classifying violent felonies to release violent offenders.
“It’s a travesty; it’s a travesty for women.”
Those were Helena Funk’s first thoughts as soon as she heard Prop. 57 was voted in on Tuesday.
“It scares me; it scares me.”
Funk is a domestic violence victim, and so is her daughter.
The new guidelines under Prop. 57 have Funk worried about her daughter’s safety.
“Her abuser is supposed to be going to prison but I don’t know if he will go or not. That’s where he needs to be,” Funk said.
The law enforcement community around Sacramento County has opposed the proposition.
Some violent felonies that are now reclassified as nonviolent include rape of an unconscious person or use of a date rape drug, domestic violence, exploding a destructive device with intent to cause injury and assault with a deadly weapon.
“This is a threat of public safety, There is a certain amount of reliability that past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.”
Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness says he believes in giving second chances, but says felons with an extensive record of violence won’t change overnight.
According to McGinness, law enforcement will be the first to see the effects of Prop. 57, as felons are granted early release from state prisons.
“Crime has soared since Prop. 47 passed two years ago, and I think we are gonna see the same thing with Prop. 57.”
The measure requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to adopt new rules for prisoners who qualify for parole, but Funk says those prisoners were put away for a reason — releasing them would put people like her, and her daughter — in harm’s way.
“Now they have no consequences for their actions, you can’t reward bad behavior and I feel this is a reward of bad behavior,” Funk added.
In 2015, almost 30,000 prisoners were qualified to be released on parole under Prop. 57.
Right now, the review process for parole consideration could begin for over seven-thousand inmates across California.