June 12 2017

This week California made history, thanks to the wisdom of voters who sent a clear message that we will be safer if we invest more in prevention and less in punishment.

More than $100 million is on its way to communities across the state thanks to the money California has saved through the common-sense sentencing reforms of Prop 47, approved by voters in 2014.  Instead of spending $75,000 a year to incarcerate people in state prison for offenses like writing a bad check and shoplifting, those individuals are now held accountable at the local level.   Prop 47 directed the resulting savings be invested in local programs for health, education and prevention – the things that truly keep communities safe.

The first round of Prop 47 funding shows how local leaders are putting prevention into action.

  • In Los Angeles, public health leaders, prosecutors, and community organizations will work to greatly expand drug treatment and mental health services, especially for people returning to their communities after being incarcerated.
  • In San Diego, community partners will work closely with county leaders expand pre-trial diversion programs, so residents can stay in their communities and avoid a conviction by completing a treatment program following arrest.
  • In Merced, the County plans to partner with community groups to open a new youth center, creating a safe and productive space for teens and young adults.

You can read more about all 23 grants in the official announcement from the Board of State and Community Corrections.  For more background, I recommend this story and editorial from The Los Angeles Times.

I am proud that California is at the forefront of a national movement that is rejecting the harmful and failed policies of mass incarceration and instead building a new path to #RealSafety centered on health, education, prevention and investing in youth.  Let’s keep it moving.