Passing of Proposition 47 foreshadows improvements in direction of funds used to imprison drug users and petty thieves

Scott Redmond, Staff Writer

Proposition 47 was one of the best moves Californians made during the 2014 midterm election.

With the passage of Prop 47, it now “requires misdemeanor sentence instead of felony for certain drug and property offenses” and is “inapplicable to persons with prior conviction for serious or violent crime and registered sex offenders,” according to the California Voters Guide.

Basically committing minor drug or property crimes are no longer considered to be felonies that carry with them long prison sentences. No more throwing people into the far beyond overcrowded prison system for ridiculous crimes.

Out of all the dud propositions that were on the ballot or proposed for it, at least this amazing piece of legislation was there and passed.

Let’s be honest, why are we wasting time and money to incarcerate people for drug possession? For minor property crimes and thefts?

Because prison is a capitalist business now, owned by private corporations, and the more people in there the more they make.

There is no reason to care about someone that has cocaine or heroin on their person. If they aren’t being violent, let them be.

The other side claims it’s because those drugs are dangerous and harmful to individuals. So are booze and cigarettes and fatty food, yet all of those are sold to the general public. There have been many times that people that are drunk have gone on to commit crimes, but possessing booze didn’t come with a felony sentence.

If these people want to possess and use heroin or cocaine or other illegal drugs, let them. It’s their lives that are messed up for the most part, or lost.

We can’t legislate good health and behavior for society, people have to take that into their own hands.

Another reason that it’s good that Prop 47 passed is that it will save money, money that will be put to better uses. Instead of using that money to incarcerate people for these minor crimes the money is going to be put into school truancy and prevention programs, mental health and substance abuse treatment programs and towards victim services, according to the California Voters Guide.

Like with 2008’s Prop 8, there are those that want to have the proposition overturned and repealed. Unlike the rightful overturning of Prop 8, there is no reason this law should be overturned.

Detractors, including California Police Chiefs and the California Public Safety Initiative, claim that by making drug possession a misdemeanor it will mean there is “no incentive for rehabilitation” and that it will “sound the death knell for drug courts, as there is no incentive to do an 18 month to two2 year intensive treatment program when the maximum consequences for a drug conviction is a six month misdemeanor term in county jail,” according to Californians Against 47.

Giving felony charges and mandating someone be in prison because they are using cocaine or heroin is a waste of time and money. No one is going around rounding up all the alcoholics of society and forcing rehabilitation on them.

If Billy wants to shoot up till he dies, that’s pretty much his choice. Wasting taxpayer money to force him to stop should not even really be an option.

The detractors also have said that potentially violent criminals will be released under the mandatory release clause of Prop 47. Meaning they’ll potentially commit violent crimes in the future, even though the crime they were currently in for might not have been a violent one.

Is Prop 47 a perfect law? No, there is no such thing.

There will be people that get out and go on to commit bigger crimes. That is already part of the justice system.

Those behind one of the biggest crimes that hurt an entire nation, those in the stock market that led to the recession and collapse of our system, all pretty much got off with just a slap on the hand and all got bonuses when they left.

Because some might get off and go on to do bad things later is not a reason to scrap a law that will lighten the prison population and will keep many that do not deserve to be serving long prison terms from having to do so.

Passing Prop 47 was the right thing to do, and overturning it would be the stupidest move ever.