The Jan. 14 online article “Crime is up, and Fresno County law enforcement leaders blame Prop. 47,” fails to tell the complete story. When voters across the state overwhelmingly passed Prop. 47 last November, they sent the resounding message that California’s criminal justice system was in need of a fix. Voters said no to punitive sentencing practices and yes to investing in treatment, rehabilitation and alternatives.
The new law has given thousands of people the opportunity to stabilize their lives by removing the stigma of a felony conviction from their records and decreasing barriers to employment, housing, benefits and school loans. The county should continue to maximize the benefits of Prop. 47 by investing savings from a decreased jail population into treatment and rehabilitative programs that will help people get their lives back on track and reduce recidivism.
Contrary to the cries of many, the sky did not fall after realignment. And the sky will not fall now. Rather than cast blame, we call on our law enforcement leaders to work collaboratively with advocates, service providers and community members to find solutions to cycles of crime and poverty.