Proposition 20 limits access to the parole program established for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses. It increases state and local correctional, court, and law enforcement costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually, depending on how it’s implemented.

A yes vote means people who commit certain theft-related crimes could receive increased penalties. Additional factors could be considered for the state’s process for releasing certain inmates from prison early. Law enforcement could be required to collect DNA samples from adults convicted of certain misdemeanors.

A no vote means penalties for people who commit certain theft-related crimes would not be increased. There would be no change to the state’s process for releasing certain inmates from prison early. Law enforcement would continue to be required to collect DNA samples from adults only if they are arrested for a felony or required to register as sex offenders or arsonists.

Background

Proposition 20 would amend criminal sentencing and supervision laws enacted during the last administration of Gov. Jerry Brown that critics say are too favorable to criminals.

Voter sentiment is being shaped by a growing public desire to change a criminal justice system that historically has treated racial minorities inequitably.

Organizations representing prosecutors and police chiefs, police unions, and several crime victims’ groups are among those that want voters to reverse portions of two previously approved ballot measures, saying they impede investigations and can free serious offenders too soon.

Proposition 47 lowered penalties for drug and property crimes in 2014, while Proposition 57 in 2016 allowed the earlier parole of most felons.

The initiative would reinstate the list of crimes for which a perpetrator’s DNA is collected, with supporters citing Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo’s capture as a prime example of why a robust DNA database is important to crime-fighting.

Organizations representing grocers and retailers are among those backing a provision that would allow repeated thefts of property worth $250 or more to be prosecuted as felonies, after business owners complained that Prop. 47’s misdemeanor penalty allows thieves to steal with impunity.


(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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