Proposition 36

Ammiano Seeks New Moral Compass for California's "Failed" Prisons

By Dan Aiello

In the wake of California's election last month where voters passed two propositions aimed at reducing the number of inmates in California's overcrowded prison system, the State Assembly's Safety Committee Chair says he will introduce major prison reform this session targeting a correctional system failure rate that persists as the highest recidivism rate in the nation.

"With voters approving both propositions 30 and 36, I believe we are in a position to achieve significant prison reform to reduce our failure rate and begin decreasing our prison population," San Francisco Democrat Assembly member Tom Ammiano told the California Progress Report recently.

Prop 36: Making the Punishment Fit the Crime

By Sheila Kuehl

Appearing on California's November ballot, Proposition 36 would change sentencing for those who commit a non-serious, non-violent felony, after having served time for two, prior, serious or violent felonies (the so-called "third strike"). There are a few exceptions, but, generally, current prisoners could apply for re-sentencing if their third strike was non-serious and non-violent.

There are three levels of crimes in California: felonies, misdemeanors and infractions. Felonies are the most serious and those convicted of felonies generally are sentenced to incarceration in state prisons. Felonies are also divided into categories, with the most egregious being "serious" or "violent" felonies, which are listed in California statute.