A continued topic of debate, Proposition 47 may soon help rehabilitate residents across California as more than $100 million in savings are gathered.
Approved by voters in November 2014, Prop. 47 calls for treating offenses such as shoplifting, forgery, fraud, possession of small amounts of drugs and petty theft as misdemeanors instead of felonies with the aim of decreasing jail populations, or at least saving the space for those who committed more serious crimes.
Shortly after its passage, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig argued that Prop. 47 created a “revolving door for low-level arrests,” highlighting drug offenses.
“It used to be that if you were caught in the possession of methamphetamine you would be arrested, you’d end up in drug court or some other program, probably in custody receiving some type of treatment,” he said previously. “Well now the officers on the street just give them a ticket, so they have been arrested for a crime, the case actually gets forwarded to my office, we charge them with a crime, but they never show up to court. They get arrested again and are given another ticket for methamphetamine and so we’ve seen that.”
Reisig argued that treatment for these addictions would be lacking under Prop. 47, meaning those arrested would be more likely to reoffend, supporting the “revolving door” analogy.
Two years later, what effect the measure has had on Yolo County is still a topic of debate as crime data released since its passage is still being analyzed.
Regardless of its latent implications, however, Prop. 47 may soon pay off.
From the start, one of Prop. 47’s promises was that statewide savings from the measure would one day help fund rehabilitation efforts to help keep people out from behind bars. This would include programs that offer mental health services, substance-use disorder treatment and diversion opportunities, along with housing and job-skills training.
That day has come.
In November, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) announced that it will disperse grant funding in the amount of $103 million in Proposition 47 savings over 38 months.
On Friday, Reisig stated that his office would help host a series of meetings meant to gather community input on how to use these funds.
This collaboration, led by the Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency, will also feature representatives from the Public Defender’s Office and Probation Department. The event will explore gaps in rehabilitation services with input from residents in Woodland, Davis, and West Sacramento.
The purpose of these meetings is to get feedback from the public regarding how this funding will be used. Community members, including people affected by crime and individuals who have spent time in jail or prison, are encouraged to attend.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
- West Sacramento: Jan. 10 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the West Sacramento Civic Center located at 1110 West Capital Avenue. For streaming video please go to: http://cityofwestsacramento.org/whatsnew/live_video.asp
- Davis: Jan. 11 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Community Chambers at City Hall located at 23 Russell Boulevard (corner of Russell Blvd and B St.).
- Woodland, Jan. 12 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 625 Court Street, Room 204. For streaming video please go to: www.yolocounty.org.
These meetings will be streamed live on the dates and times listed above and will also be available on video.
Community members are encouraged to provide public comment either in person at one of the above meetings or via email at Prop47Grant@yolocounty.org.