Making six non-violent and non-serious crimes—forgery for less than $950, check fraud for less than $950, shoplifting goods worth less than $950, having drugs for personal use, petty theft for less than $950, and receiving stolen property of less than $950—into misdemeanors.
And redistributing the money saved by not sending people to prison and jail to mental health and substance abuse, truancy and dropout prevention, and victim services.
Someone who is convicted of a minor, non-violent offense like those listed above can be charged with a felony and has a higher likelihood of serving a longer sentence and even potentially going to prison.
The root causes of the problems that got you into prison are unlikely to be dealt with...
Despite the fact that 1 in 4 state prisoners has mental health problems, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spent
less than 6%
of their $10 billion budget on mental health treatment
. . . and 4 out of 5 people in prison who could benefit from substance abuse treatment do not receive it.
Suicide rates in California prisons substantially exceed the national average.
Not having access to these things makes it much more difficult to get back on one’s feet and stay out of trouble.
Each year a spouse is imprisoned increases the odds of separation or divorce by 32%.
Up until 2011, two-thirds of people who left prison returned within 3 years. Contributing to high recidivism are issues like unaddressed substance abuse and mental illness and barriers to employment and finding housing, leave people with few alternatives.
People in the criminal justice system are disproportionately mentally ill and disproportionately likely to have substance abuse issues.
Nationally, people in prison and jail are:
as the general population.
40,000 people would be convicted of a misdemeanor rather than a felony and thousands would not go to prison each year.
The state will save $200 to $300 million dollars every year. Counties will save $400 to $600 million dollars every year.
By treating substance abuse and mental health problems with up to $195 million each year from Prop 47, people will be able to overcome the problems that get them involved in the criminal justice system—and
Many mental health and substance abuse interventions have been shown to reduce recidivism by at least 10%. Courts in which judges can sentence people with substance abuse problems to treatment ("drug courts") reduce recidivism by 12%, on average.
. . . leading to better outcomes for communities.
Prop 47 will lead to youth having fewer problems with aggression, drugs, and behavioral and emotional problems. It will reduce the risk of partner depression, separation, or divorce.
The Full Report provides details and extensive background to support our findings. Download it here.
The Technical Report gives background on methodology, a separate report with complete focus group findings, and background on the Predictions. Download it here.
A project by Human Impact Partners
Human Impact Partners works to transform the policies and places people need to live healthy lives by increasing the consideration of health and equity in decision making