Walking alongside thieves and addicts

Emma Trinh, Contributing Writer

Proposition 47, a measure that decriminalizes drug and property offenses by classifying them misdemeanors instead of felonies, passed on the California ballots on Nov. 4, according to NBC News.

This dangerous initiative will release over 10,000 potential or current felons from state prisons by reducing their penalties for drug possession, theft not exceeding $950 and forgery charges. Prop 47 aims to save California money by moving criminals out of state penitentiaries and on to the streets.

While there is no doubt that this measure will save the state a considerable sum, it compromises the safety of society by ensuring that malefactors will not see a day behind bars, no matter how many times they break the law. A grim factor of this measure delegates that lawbreakers who are charged with drug possession time after time, will be treated just as if it were their first offense, according to the California Police Chiefs Association. This means the already existing substance abuse programs usually reserved for first time offenders will be overcrowded and less effective.

“I voted no on this prop because I don’t believe that people should just get away with committing crimes,” first time voter and senior Caprice Sandberg said.

Another terrifying reality of this initiative is that it decriminalizes theft, reducing the penalty for stolen guns.

“People don’t steal guns just so they can add to their gun collection. They steal guns to commit another crime,” the California Police Chiefs Association said on its official website.

Los Angeles Attorney Mike Feur is anticipating the resentencing of 40,000 inmates from drug, theft or forgery offenses to misdemeanors and will immediately release over 400 of them starting mid-November, according to the Los Angeles Times. This is a chilling fact, considering that three out of five prisoners in California commit crimes and return to jail within three years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I voted no because saving money at the cost of security is a huge mistake that Californians just made; I’m pretty upset it passed,” first time voter and senior Ashley Kim said.

Proposition 47 is a dangerous measure that compromises Californians’ safety by decriminalizing felonies in to misdemeanors.