At our March Strategic Partners meeting we heard an update on Prop 47, the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. In November 2014, 59.61% of voters supported Prop. 47 backers’ argument that it would reduce prison overcrowding by reclassifying most “non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor. Sounds good in theory, but in practice it’s proving to have unexpected and undesirable consequences. Here are some impacts.
Because all you get is a ticket, instead of a trip to the police station, bad people are on the move. They can have an unregistered gun worth under $950 and get a ticket. They can possess the date rape drug, too. Graffiti is increasing; someone scrawled on the bus bench by Walgreens. Thefts and residential burglaries are increasing. .
Scott Anderle, EdD, assistant director GUSD Student Support Services, said students feel that since the government no longer thinks smoking weed is dangerous, since now you get a ticket for smoking in public or for minor possession, then it must be okay for you. Boy, is their perception of harm to their developing brains wrong.
Glendale Police Chief Castro said keeping people safe from petty criminals costs money the department didn’t plan to spend. One example was increasing the number of sworn personnel working over the holiday season to protect merchants and shoppers. The chief said proponents of Prop. 47 sold their message too well, and caught opponents short. Lt. Scott Bickle said that one severe downside with giving tickets instead of arresting people is the decrease in DNA collection. Police want to put bad guys away; this initiative inhibits police abilities.
Many people need that judicial stick to stick to rehab. Ben Salazar, GCC Alcohol/Drug Studies Program director, shared that rehabilitation providers are seeing a decrease in clients because judges aren’t mandating rehab. So they’ll cut staff and lose talented counselors.
Now what? Lt. Bickle and Glendale Jail Administrator Juan Lopez are working with Didi Hirsch, the PTA and us to get treatment information into the jails for the 500 to 600 people locked up monthly. It’s prevention and cure!
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