November 11 2015

Inherent to the human condition is making mistakes. It’s one of the ways in which we learn. While many manage to make it through their younger years unscathed, a large number aren’t as fortunate. Some of these mistakes result in criminal convictions that, in later years, leave the offending individual wondering, “What was I thinking when I did that?”

We can all remember the things we did against our better judgment. After many years have passed, do they still define who we are? Yet for those with felony convictions, these mistakes continue to define them. They restrict them when applying for jobs. They limit the amount of benefits they can receive. Thousands of citizens: brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, wanting to work but unable to find anyone willing to hire them.

Proposition 47 helps change that. Low-level felonies can now be reduced to misdemeanors, allowing Californians to cleanse their records of mistakes made long ago.

How does this benefit the community? Cost savings and smarter spending. More people will be able to find work, reducing dependence on social services. Prop 47 will also allow qualified non-serious/non-violent felony offenders currently in prison to be resentenced, reducing the exorbitant costs of incarceration. These funds will then be diverted back to the community for diversion programs and drug treatment, helping to build a better tomorrow for them and their children.

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