Hopper, Allen

Revised Budget Reaffirms Realignment, Leaves Out Sentencing Reform

By Allen Hopper
ACLU of Northern California

The revised California budget is out and sentencing reform is, well, left out. In his revised budget Gov. Brown recommitted to his criminal justice realignment plan, but didn't include any sentencing reforms that would help ensure that the plan is effective and affordable. Realignment reserves state prison for people with the most serious offenses and redirects people with low-level offenses to local control. This is a step in the right direction but it leaves a key piece of the puzzle missing: we should convert minor offenses from felonies to misdemeanors so that the punishment and its associated taxpayer cost fit the crime.