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California Voters Approve Proposition 47

The following is a statement from Timothy P. Silard, president of the Rosenberg Foundation, on the passage of Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.

Yesterday, Californians approved Proposition 47 (the Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act), voting to release people convicted of nonviolent crimes from prison. With this historic victory, California voters have spoken loud and clear that they are tired of business as usual when it comes to our criminal justice system. Our state’s 35-year failed experiment with being “tough on crime” only has resulted in out-of-control costs and a revolving door of recidivism.

Now, individuals who have committed low-level crimes can get treatment and services instead of spending years behind bars and being saddled for life with a felony conviction. Not only does this give individuals a second chance, it also strengthens families and communities throughout the state, especially communities of color that have most acutely suffered from the failed policies of the past.  Importantly, savings from this simple but powerful shift will support at-risk children, mental health and drug treatment, and trauma services for victims of crime.

With the passage of Proposition 47, our state is leading the way on sentencing reform. Californians are continuing to close the door on the ineffective policies that have handcuffed us for too long, embracing fresh thinking and proven approaches that can ensure real safety and justice for our communities.

Philanthropy has a responsibility to help create opportunities for all Californians to fully participate in the state’s economic and civic life. At the Rosenberg Foundation, we believe that criminal justice reform is one of the leading civil rights issues of our time. We look forward to working with community organizations and with our state and local governments to support the effective implementation of this new law.

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